How Triceratops, like elephants, gave plant seeds a leg-up

A study published recently laid out a framework for calculating how far dinosaurs - ranging in weight from roughly 9kg to 90 tonnes - might have carried the seeds of prehistoric plants.
A study published recently laid out a framework for calculating how far dinosaurs - ranging in weight from roughly 9kg to 90 tonnes - might have carried the seeds of prehistoric plants.PHOTO: DAVIDE BONADONNA

In a lush, bygone landscape, a hungry Triceratops munches on low-lying ferns and cone-bearing cycad plants to power its 10-tonne frame. The animal swallows huge mouthfuls of roughage, seeds and all, before ambling off in search of new feeding grounds.

Days later and kilometres away, the Triceratops empties its bowels, sowing the seeds of the plants it ate, complete with fertiliser, in more far-flung soil than could be reached without it.

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month

  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2021, with the headline 'How Triceratops, like elephants, gave plant seeds a leg-up'. Subscribe