A Guide to 15 Spectacular Herbivorous Dinosaurs

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 18th December 2023

Diplodocus dinosaur scene from the Jurassic era 3D illustration
Big bodies needed endless fuel – warpaintcobra via Istock

The thought of dinosaurs conjures images of terrible flesh-eating beasts at the very top of the Mesozoic food chain. 

But just like today’s ecosystem, there were dinosaurs in pretty much every ecological niche. 

In fact, of the 300 dinosaur genera that have been found so far, about 185 of them were herbivores. 

This means more than half of the known dinosaurs survived on a plant-based diet.

The herbivorous dinosaurs were not only abundant, they were incredibly diverse too. 

They include long-necked sauropods, armored dinosaurs like the stegosaurs and ankylosaurs, as well as the horned dinosaurs known as the ceratopsians

They also varied in terms of their size and the overall diversity of their diet. 

 In this article, we list 15 of these spectacular herbivorous dinosaurs

Gage Beasley's Prehistoric Shirt Collection
Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Shirt Collection

15. Agilisaurus

Agilisaurus life restoration - Danny Cicchetti - License
Agilisaurus life restoration – Danny Cicchetti – License
Name MeaningAgile Lizard 
EraMesozoic – Middle Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia & Neornithischia
Height0.6 meters (2 feet ) 
Length1.2-1.7 meters (3.5–4 feet) 
Weight40 kg (88 lbs) 
LocationTanzania (Africa)

While most herbivorous dinosaurs grew to a massive size, some of them, like the Agilisaurus, were relatively diminutive. 

This small, agile dinosaur lived in Asia during the Middle Jurassic Period. 

It grew to an average length of about 3.5 to 4 feet (1.2-1.7 meters) and had a mass of about 40 kg. 

This dinosaur’s upper and lower jaws were modified into beaks, effective for cropping plant materials.

Agilisaurus had strong and resistant leaf-shaped teeth that appear to have been well-adapted to an abrasive, plant-based diet. 

14. Camarasaurus

Camarasaurus 3D render - CoreyFord via Istock
Camarasaurus 3D render – CoreyFord via Istock
Name MeaningChambered lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Sauropoda 
Height4.5-7.5 meters (15–25 feet) 
Length15-20 meters (50-65 feet) 
Weight20 tons (40,000 lbs)
LocationNorth America

Camarasaurus is one of the most common North American sauropods in the fossil record. 

Interestingly, it is not as well-known as some of its contemporaries, probably because it didn’t grow as big as they did. 

Camarasaurus was a medium-sized dinosaur characterized by a slender-shaped body and a long slender neck. 

Camarasaurus had rows of well-developed teeth in its mouth for masticating plant materials. 

The teeth were covered by gums, with only the tips of the crowns showing. 

Camarasaurus developed a specialized diet different from that of other sauropods. 

This allowed them to live alongside these other dinosaurs without competing for food and other resources. 

13. Brachiosaurus

Brachiosaurus 3D render - elenarts108 via Istock
Brachiosaurus 3D render – elenarts108 via Istock
Name MeaningArm Lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Sauropoda
Height12-13 meters (39-43 feet)
Length18 to 22 meters (59 and 72 feet) 
Weight28 to 56 tons (61,000–120,000lbs)
LocationUSA (North America) 

The Brachiosaurus is one of the most popular herbivorous dinosaurs and also one of the largest known dinosaurs. 

This Jurassic Period dinosaur was a sauropod characterized by a long neck, a long tail, and a massive body. 

It grew to a maximum length of about 18 to 22 meters (59–72 feet) on average and weighed up to 56 tons. 

Brachiosaurus was a herbivore that fed on a diet of cycas, ferns, and conifers. 

Given its size, this dinosaur would have had to consume at least 1,500 kilograms of food daily to survive. 

Brachiosaurus could reach heights of about 12 to 13 meters (39–43 feet) with its long neck, which allowed it to feed directly from the top of trees. 

Experts think it was also capable of swinging its neck low to access food. 

12. Triceratops

Triceratops 3D illustration
Triceratops 3D illustration – warpaintcobra via Istock
Name MeaningThree-horned face
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ & Ceratopsia
Height2.3 meters (7.5 feet) 
Length9 meters (30 feet)
Weight5 to 9 tons (10,000–18,000 lbs)
LocationUSA & Canada (North America) 

Triceratops is one of the most popular herbivorous dinosaurs. 

It was a large dinosaur known for its massive skull and a large bony frill at the back of its head, with three prominent horns protruding out of its face. 

Triceratops was a low-browsing herbivore that fed on fibrous plant materials such as palms, cycads, and ferns. 

The dinosaur’s mouth ended in a narrow beak effective for grasping and plucking plant materials. 

Some experts also think this dinosaur used its massive horns to knock down trees to easily access the leaves. 

The Triceratops’ dentition included a dental battery made up of 36 to 40 block-like columns stacked on each side of its mouth. 

Based on this arrangement, the dinosaur probably had between 432 to 800 individual teeth for processing tough vegetation.  

11. Apatosaurus

Apatosaurus 3D render - CoreyFord via Istock
Apatosaurus 3D render – CoreyFord via Istock
Name MeaningDeceptive Lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria,‭ ‬Saurischia & Sauropoda
Height4.5 meters (15 feet) 
Length21 meters (70 feet)
Weight40 tons (80,000 lbs)
LocationUSA & Canada (North America)

Apatosaurus was a long-necked dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic Period. 

It was one of the largest dinosaurs from that period of geologic history, with a massive body, long neck, and long tail. 

Comparable in size to other sauropod dinosaurs like the Diplodocus, Apatosaurus was more heavily-built and robust. 

It held its long tail above the ground, and its head was held in an elevated position supported by a long muscular neck.

Apatosaurus was a generalized browser that fed on ferns, cycloids, horsetails, and algae. 

Experts also speculate that it fed on water plants in river banks as well. 

They moved around for food, probably covering a range of about 25 to 40 kilometers (16–25 miles) daily. 

10. Stegosaurus

Stegosaurus 3D render
Stegosaurus 3D render – CoreyFord via Istock
Name MeaningRoof lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia & Stegosauria
Height4 to 5 meters (13 to 16.5 feet)
Length9 to 10 meters (30 to 33 feet) 
Weight3.5–5 metric tons (7,716–11,023 lbs)
LocationNorth America (United States)

The Stegosaurus was one of the largest herbivorous dinosaurs known from Early Cretaceous North America and Europe. 

It was also one of the most heavily-built dinosaurs, with body armor composed of rows of triangular plates arranged along its back. 

Stegosaurus also had a unique arrangement of spines on its tail known as a thagomizer. 

It was a herbivore but had a unique dental structure remarkably different from other herbivorous dinosaurs. 

This dinosaur’s jaws were made up of small peg-like teeth instead of the block-like teeth of other ornithischian herbivores. 

The structure of the Stegosaurus’ jaw also suggests that they were only capable of making up and down movement, which isn’t very efficient for grinding food.  

This dinosaur probably ate a wide range of plants, including mosses, horsetails, ferns, cycads, and conifers. 

But the mechanism it used to chew these plant materials isn’t well-known. 

9. Diplodocus

Diplodocus 3D render
Diplodocus 3D render – elenarts108 via Istock
Name MeaningDouble Beam
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Sauropoda
Height4-5 meters (13-16 feet)
Length24–26 meters (79–85 feet)
Weight11–18 tons (22,000–36,000 lbs)
LocationNorth America

Diplodocus is one of the most famous herbivorous dinosaurs, thanks to its massive size. 

It is a worthy contender for the longest land animal to have ever lived, growing to a maximum length of about 26 meters (85 feet).

One of the most prominent features of the Diplodocus is its whip-like tail which probably served as an efficient defense against predators. 

Diplodocus was a herbivore with a unique detention, different from that of other sauropod dinosaurs. 

It had peg-like teeth that appear to have been better adapted to feeding on soft vegetation such as water plants. 

The flexibility of this dinosaur’s neck is still being debated. 

Some experts also think it was capable of rearing up its upper body, assuming a bipedal stance to increase access to tall plants. 

8. Parasaurolophus

Computer generated 3D Parasaurolophus
Computer generated 3D Parasaurolophus – MR1805 via Istock
Name MeaningNear crested lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia‭ & Ornithopoda
Height4.9 meters (16 feet)
Length11.45 meters (37.6 feet)
Weight2.7 tons (5,952 lbs)
LocationNorth America

Parasaurolophus was a medium-sized herbivorous dinosaur known for its distinctive tube-like cranial crest. 

The hollow tube-like crest extends from the top of the dinosaur’s nose and curves all the way back beyond its skull. 

Parasaurolophus was a hadrosaurid dinosaur. 

This group of dinosaurs is also commonly called duck-billed dinosaurs because of the modified appearance of their snout bones which gave it a flat duck-bill appearance. 

As a herbivore, this dinosaur fed varied diets that included leaves, twigs, and pine needles.

It had a browsing feeding habit, eating plants from the ground up all the way to a height of about four meters (13 feet). 

Although quadrupedal, this dinosaur could hold its upper body up in a bipedal stance to access plants.  

7. Ankylosaurus

Ankylosaurus 3D render - CoryFord via Istock
Ankylosaurus 3D render – CoryFord via Istock
Name MeaningBent lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia‭ & Ankylosauria
Height1.7 meters (5.5 feet)
Length6 meters (20 feet)
Weight6 tons (13,000 lbs)
LocationNorth America

The stout and robust Ankylosaurus is one of the most heavily armored dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period. 

This dinosaur had rows of bony plates arranged along its back with bony half-rings protecting its neck. 

But its most distinctive feature was the massive club-like tail that would have provided excellent protection against predators. 

Ankylosaurus was an herbivore with a non-selective browsing habit. 

It fed on a wide range of low-growing shrubs and herbs that were abundant in its habitat. 

Given its size, this dinosaur would have needed up to 60 kilograms of food (about 130 pounds) daily to survive. 

This is about the same amount of food a large elephant would eat. 

6. Iguanodon

Iguanodon 3D illustration – Warpaintcobra via Istock
Name MeaningIguana teeth
EraMesozoic – Early Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia‭ & Ornithopoda
Height2.7 meters (9 feet) 
Length9–11 meters (30–36 feet) 
Weight4.5 tons (10,000 lbs) 

Discovered in the early 1800s, the Iguanodon was one of the first herbivorous dinosaurs to be recognized and named. 

The genus was named based on similarities between its teeth and that of the Iguana, one of the few modern herbivorous dinosaurs. 

The Iguanodon had a well-developed detention for a prehistoric dinosaur. 

The front of its jaw was modified to form a keratinous beak effective for cropping or biting off twigs and plant shoots. 

Iguanodon lived on a diet of conifers, cycads, and horsetails. 

It could browse low-lying vegetation and plants as high as four to five meters (13–16 feet) off the ground. 

5. Corythosaurus

Corythosaurus is a herbivorous duck-billed dinosaur that lived in North America during the Cretaceous Period – CoryFord via Istock
Name MeaningHelmeted lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia‭ & Ornithopoda
Height2 meters (6.6 feet) 
Length8.1 meters (27 feet) 
Weight5 tons (11,000 lbs) 
LocationNorth America 

The Corythosaurus name translates as “helmeted lizard,” a reference to the hollow helmet-like crest on top of the dinosaur’s head.

This dinosaur’s head adornment resembles that of the cassowary, a type of modern flightless bird. 

Corythosaurus had a beaked jaw with a narrow mouth. 

The beak was shallow and delicate, suggesting that the dinosaur fed mainly soft vegetation. 

Corythosaurus is one of the dinosaurs whose probable diet is well-known. 

A fossil of this dinosaur has been found with some of its last meal preserved. 

Based on the stomach content of this fossil Corythosaurus, scientists infer that the dinosaur fed on conifer needles, seeds, fruits, and twigs from various plants. 

4. Brachylophosaurus

Brachylophosaurus 3D illustration
Brachylophosaurus 3D illustration – Warpaintcobra via Istock
Name MeaningShort-crested lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia & Orthinopoda 
Height2.8 meters (9 feet) 
Length10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) 
Weight7 tons (15,000 lbs)
LocationSouth America 

Brachylophosaurus was a genus of duck-billed dinosaurs native to North America. 

It was known for the solid bony crest on top of its head, which was shorter than the crest of many of its closest relatives. 

The dinosaur’s name, which translates as “short-crested lizard,” refers to this bony crest. 

Due to the good preservation state of Brachylophosaurus fossils, details of what this dinosaur ate when it was alive are well known. 

Brachylophosaurus was a generalist herbivore that grazed on low-lying vegetation and also browsed on trees and shrubs. 

The dinosaur’s diet included conifers, ferns, and leaves from different flowering plants of the Cretaceous Period, such as magnolias.  

3. Protoceratops 

Protoceratops 3D render
Protoceratops 3D render – CoryFord via Istock
Name MeaningFirst horned face
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia & Ceratopsia
Height50–60 centimeters (19.7–23.6 inches)
Length2–2.5 meters (6.6–8.2 feet)
Weight62–104 kg (137–229 lbs)

Protoceratops was a relatively small dinosaur considered an ancestor of Triceratops and other ceratopsian dinosaurs. 

It lived in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert during the Late Cretaceous Period. 

The Protoceratops diet is the same as that of other ceratopsian dinosaurs. 

But given its small size, this dinosaur was probably a low browser feeding on foliage and fruits from low-lying plants. 

The dinosaur’s strong musculature suggests that it was capable of processing tough seeds and plant materials in its mouth. 

This would have been important since the Protoceratops lived in an arid or semi-arid habitat where soft vegetation was not abundant. 

2. Euoplocephalus

Euoplocephalus from the Cretaceous era 3D illustration – Warpaintcobra via Istock
Name MeaningWell-armored head
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia & Ankylosauria
Height2.5 meters (8 feet)
Length5.3 meters (17 feet) 
Weight2 metric tons (4,409.25 lbs)
LocationNorth America (Canada and the United States)

Euoplocephalus was an armored dinosaur related to the Ankylosaurus

It is characterized by a broad and flat low-slung fortified with bony plates and spikes and a tail club similar in appearance to that of its closest relatives. 

The major distinguishing feature of this dinosaur was its armored head which provided additional protection against predators. 

Euoplocephalus was a herbivore with a generalist diet similar to that of the hippopotamus. 

It had a broad muzzle with a jaw structure that looked like it was adapted to processing soft, non-abrasive plants. 

However, the Euoplocephalus may have included tough fibrous plant materials occasionally. 

1. Giraffatitan

Giraffatitan 3D render
Giraffatitan 3D render – Elenarts108 via Istock
Name MeaningGiraffe titan
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Sauropoda
Height12 meters (40 feet)
Length21–23 meters (69–75 feet)
Weight30–40 tons (66,000–88,000 lbs) 
LocationTanzania (Africa)

The Giraffatitan is obviously named after the modern Giraffe. 

Not only was this dinosaur’s neck extremely long, the Giraffatitan’s hindlimbs were shorter than the forelimbs, which gave the dinosaur a giraffe-like posture. 

It had a small skull, significantly smaller than that of other sauropod dinosaurs. 

The Giraffatitan’s skull also had a tall arch above the eyes that gave it a distinct look. 

Giraffatitan lived in what is now present-day Tanzania in Africa. 

The region where this dinosaur lived was dominated by conifers, which would have formed the bulk of this dinosaur’s diet. 


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