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