Out of all the dinosaur groups, the ornithopods are among the most diverse groups of dinosaurs in this alternate timeline. They first evolved in the Middle Jurassic but were a rare sight until the end of this period. However, they heavily diversified in the Early Cretaceous when other large herbivores went into decline. As the grass-like ferns spread, ornithopods found themselves almost alone in their ecosystems, being better equipped at eating grass-like ferns than the ceratopsians and therizinosaurs. The only real competition to smaller ornithopods were ornithomimids while larger ornithopods only faced competition from snowclaws in northern Eurasia. Today, the ornithopods are the most diverse group of herbivorous dinosaurs, being found on every continent except Antarctica.
Just like in our home timeline, the iguanodonts were very successful in this alternate timeline. However, unlike in our home timeline the iguanodonts' descendants, the hadrosaurs never evolved in this alternate timeline. Due to this, the traditional iguanodonts managed to evolve into several major groups during the Paleogene as Laurasia and Gondwana broke up.
Spiked Honkers (Family: Kornarosauridae)Edit
This group of Australian iguanodonts get their name because all species of this family have both the famous spiked thumb and a large organ on the snout for honking, similar to a Muttaburrasaurus. There are dozens of species of spiked honkers ranging from giants of the Outback to dwarf, bipedal rainforest forms of Queensland. Because of their size, larger species of spiked honker have no natural predators. However, smaller species and the offspring of larger species are often preyed upon by hopper raptors and large metatherian predators.
Polar Iguanodonts (Family: Polikedontidae)Edit
This widespread group of iguanodonts are very well adapted for living in the cold tundra of North America and Northern Eurasia. They have thick layers of fat for warmth and migrate north and south to avoid the worst snowstorms. They'll even seek shelter in ice caves with snowclaws if the weather gets too severe. During the Pleistocene, a few species even migrated to the Himalayas and Alps when the climate was much colder. One dwarf species even lives in Japan.
Crested Iguanodonts (Family: Korosauridae)Edit
The while crested iguanodonts do have the primitive thumb spike of other iguanodonts, they have many similarities with Home Earth hadrosaurs. Like lambeosaurine hadrosaurs, most crested iguanodonts have many different species with many different kinds of crests, ranging from crests similar to deer antlers to crests similar to a cassowary's. Unlike hadrosaurs however, crested iguanodonts still have primitive iguanodont teeth. These are also the most widespread iguanodonts, being found throughout Africa, Eurasia and the Americas. Despite their name, some primitive species of crested hadrosaurs don't have crests.
Mikrosauria contains all living non-iguanodont ornithopods. Like iguanodonts, mikrosaurs are extremely diverse and widespread, having dozens of species and being found on every single continent except Antarctica. They have also evolved into many shapes and sizes from Microraptor-sized tree dwellers to kangaroo-like forms the size of a deer.
Arctic Mikrosaurs (Family: Arcticodontidae)Edit
This small group of mikrosaurs is very well adapted to the freezing climate of far northern North America and Eurasia. Since they are endothermic, Arctic mikrosaurs are usually active year round, even during the dark, cold winter. However, if the weather gets to harsh, they'll seek refuge in caves and hibernate until spring. They're not restricted to the polar tundra, a few species live in boreal forest, taiga and mountain ranges such as the Rockies and Alps. Most species of arctic mikrosaurs live in small clans of about 20 individuals, usually being lead by an large adult male. Arctic mikrosaurs feed on berries, leaves, flowers, moss and even fungi. They are a favorite food source for speeder claws and cruncher beasts. They are also found grazing with large herds of polar iguanodonts and snowclaws.
Saltarodonts (Family: Saltarodontidae)Edit
Unlike other dinosaurs, saltarodonts move by hopping like a kangaroo rather than running like their arctic mikrosaur relatives. Fossils of these mikrosaurs first appeared in the middle Miocene of southern Asia. They later spread to Africa during the late Miocene and to Australia during the Pliocene. There are over 20 species of saltarodonts found throughout Africa, southern Asia and Australia. They are mainly preyed upon by jumper claws, jackalbulls and evelikosaurs in Africa, by speeder claws and false carnosaurs in Southern Asia, and by hopper raptors and predatory mammals in Australia.
Tacheiasaurs (Family: Tacheiasauridae)Edit
These mikrosaurs are among the fastest ornithopods; some species can run up to 80 kph (50 mph) despite their small size. Their diet consists mainly of grass-like ferns, although some desert dwelling species eat desert shrub. Due to their high speed, tacheiasaurs are to difficult for most predators to catch. Fossils of these speedy dinosaurs can be traced back to the Oligocene of North America and they later migrated to Asia during the Miocene and South America during the Pliocene. Today, most tacheiasaurs are found the open temperate areas of Asia and the Americas.
|Sauropsida||Archosauria||Theropoda||Abelisauroidea • Aves • Dromaeosauridae • Gigaraptornae (Dinosaurs of the Ice Age) • Ornithomimosauria • Therizinosauria • Tyrannosauroidea|
|Ornithischia||Ankylosauria • Ceratopsia • Ornithopoda|
|Lepidosauromorpha||Plesiosauria • Squamata|
|Mammalia||Eutheria • Metatheria • Monotremata|