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Coneater

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Coneater
The coneater, Strobofagus borealis, is a large, migratory hypsilophodont from the coniferous forests of Eurasia in The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution. Its main enemy is the deceptive jinx.

The coniferous forest of Eurasia is the largest area of unbroken forest on Earth. It stretches right across the continental landmass along the subpolar latitudes and, but for the narrow inlet of the Bering Strait, would be continuous with that of northern North America. It is bounded by the tundra to the north and the deciduous forests and cold grasslands to the south. The coniferous forests contain relatively few species, compared with other forests further south. The most common conifers are pines, firs, spruces and larches. These reproduce by means of seed-dispersing cones, and it is these cones that provide the food for most of the animal life of the region. Almost the only large animal found here is the coneater, a 3-meter-long (10 feet) hypsilophodont that resembles its Cretaceous ancestors.

Coneater eating

Its beak can snip twigs and cones, and its tough food is ground up between batteries of grinding teeth at the back of the mouth.

The basal ornithopods were a very widespread and successful group in Cretaceous times. Lightly built running animals, very much like small iguanodonts, they spread over all the continents before the end of the period. They have continued to be successful all over the world until the present day, occupying a large number of different niches. In the dark depths of the coniferous forest they run in small herds, over the soft undergrowth-free forest floor, and browse in more open country along the river banks. Although the coneater generally eats the cones and the seeds they contain, in winter it eats tree bark, needles, mosses and lichens, and seeks out stores of nuts hoarded by smaller animals.

Coneater herd

The coneater is an animal of small herds, each herd consisting of about a dozen individuals. Its body is insulated from the intense winter cold by deep folds and wrinkles of fat.

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