Fossil dung reveals dinosaurs did graze grass

Grass phytolith extracted from
fossilised dinosaur dung

Textbooks have long taught that grasses did not become common until long after the dinosaurs died at the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago. Depicting dinosaurs munching on grass was considered by experts to be as foolish as showing prehistoric humans hunting dinosaurs with spears.

But microscopic examination of fossilised dinosaur dung from India now shows that the last massive plant-eating dinosaurs ate at least five different types of grass. The findings suggest that the first grasses may have evolved more than 100 million years ago.

The only dinosaur bones found near the fossil dung are those of massive, long-necked plant-eaters called titanosaurs, so it is thought that the droppings are theirs.