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Discovery and Classification
Terrible Lizards Discovered | Classification | Saurischia
Iguanodontia | Sauropodomorpha | Theropoda | Ornithischia
Marginocephalia | Ceratopsia | Pachycephalosauria
Ornithopoda | Thyreophora | Stegosauria | Ankylosauria

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Ornithopoda (or-nith-uh-PODE-ah) consists of bipedal herbivores with horny beaks. Larger ornithopods may have walked on all fours when moving slowly, but like the theropods, they ran with their bodies and tails horizontal to the ground. This group includes Camptosauridae, Hadrosauridae, Heterodontosauridae, Hypsilophodontidae and Iguanodontidae.

Heterodontosauridae, a family of ornithopoda, were among the smallest and earliest ornithischians. These animals had a horny beak, followed by a large tooth and a row of closely-packed cheek teeth.

One ornithopod provided an important clue to dinosaur behavior. The nests of Maiasaura were discovered in Montana, along with hatchlings and young Maiasaura. The conditions of the nests and hatchlings provide evidence that hadrosaurs -- and probably other dinosaurs -- cared for their young, something that differentiates them from most modern reptiles. (Maiasaura means “Good Mother Lizard.”)

Some hadrosaurs had crests upon their heads. Hollow crests served as “resonance chambers” to project the hadrosaur's calls across great distances. If this crest was like the inside of a nose, its size would have given the hadrosaur a very good sense of smell.

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