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Ornithischia (pronounced /ɔrnɨˈθɪskiə/ or-ni-thiss-kee-ə)or Predentata is an extinct order of beaked, herbivorous dinosaurs. The name ornithischia is derived from the Greek ornitheos (ορνιθειος) meaning 'of a bird' and ischion (ισχιον) meaning 'hip joint'. They are known as the 'bird-hipped' dinosaurs because of their bird-like hip structure, even though birds actually descended from the 'lizard-hipped' dinosaurs (the saurischians). Being herbivores that sometimes lived in herds, they were more numerous than the saurischians. They were prey animals for the theropods and were smaller than the sauropods.
220px-Edmontosaurus pelvis left

Edmontosaurus pelvis and hind limbs

DescriptionsEdit

The Dinosauria superorder was divided into the two orders Ornithischia and Saurischia by Harry Seeley in 1887. This division, which has generally been accepted, is based on the evolution of the pelvis into a more bird-like structure (although birds did not descend from these dinosaurs), details in the vertebrae and armor and the possession of a 'predentary' bone. The predentary is an extra bone in the front of the lower jaw, which extends the dentary (the main lower jaw bone). The predentary coincides with the premaxilla in the upper jaw. Together they form a beak-like apparatus used to clip off plant material.

The ornithischian pubis bone points downward and toward the tail (backwards), parallel with the ischium, with a forward-pointing process to support the abdomen. This makes a four-pronged pelvic structure. In contrast to this, the saurischian pubis points downward and toward the head (forwards), as in ancestral lizard types. Ornithischians also had smaller antorbital fenestrae (holes in front of their eye sockets) than did saurischians, and a wider, more stable pelvis. A bird-like pubis arrangement, parallel to the vertebral column, evolved independently three times in dinosaur evolution, namely in the ornithischians, in the therizinosauroids and in bird-like dromaeosaurids.

Ornithischians shifted from bipedal to quadrupedal posture at least three times in their evolutionary history and have been shown to have been capable of adopting both postures early in their evolutionary history.

ClassificationEdit

Taxonomy

Linnaean ranks after Benton (2004):

PhylogenyEdit

Ornithischia

Pisanosaurus

Heterodontosauridae

Eocursor

Genasauria

Lesothosaurus

Thyreophora

Scutellosaurus

Emausaurus

Scelidosaurus

Stegosauria

Ankylosauria

Neornithischia

Stormbergia

Agilisaurus

Hexinlusaurus

Othnielosaurus

Cerapoda

Ornithopoda

Marginocephalia

Pachycephalosauria

Ceratopsia



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