The Ornithopoda clade of dinosaurs are some of the most prominent and famous when it comes to the public's eye. The Ornithopods were some of the most successful dinosaurs during their time living out from the Middle Jurassic all the way to the end of the Cretaceous. They were herbivores, as can be judged by studies conducted by palaeontologists.
What is one of the best-known traits of Ornithopods are their general social nature. Generally speaking, ornithopods are rarely found one at a time; rather, it's more typical to find remains of several individuals at the same site. This indicates that they were animals that usually preferred to form groups with one another, mainly as protection.
Naturally, as dinosaurs are a mainstay in popular culture, ornithopods, especially Hypsilophodon, Iguanodon and Parasaurolophus tend to be featured in works focusing on Prehistory. To highlight their nature as peaceful herbivores, they will mostly be seen as herd animals, providing protection and social attachments towards each other and being rather protective of them. Additionally, it is also common to see ornithopods join a herd composed of different herbivorous dinosaur species, such as sauropods, ceratopsians, stegosaurs, pachycephalosaurs and ankylosaurs.
Fossil evidence shows that there's a lot of Truth in Television to this picture. One of the "dinosaur renaissance" discoveries of the late 1970s is the hadrosaur Maiasauranote , whose discoveries included a giant herd of around ten thousand individuals, all killed in the same event, and a nesting ground with nests spaced about one dinosaur-length apart, indisputable evidence of nesting colonies. One nest preserved evidence that the young stayed in the nest for a while after hatching, while the parents brought them food. The latter discovery is what gave the species its name, which means Good Mother Lizard. Maiasaura may be one of the main inspirations for how ornithopods tend to be depicted as sociable and gentle creatures note . Depending on how much fossil evidence is available, this may also overlap with Artistic License – Paleontology.
While not as common as sauropods, ornithopods are still possible to be Domesticated Dinosaurs considering how they are viewed as peaceful animals. This may or may not overlap with Dumb Dinos, though this may be unlikely, considering that ornithopods are normally shown to be very wary about predators.
Sometimes portrayed as a Fantastic Fauna Counterpart to deer and antelope in the dinosaur age.
Compare Gentle Giant Sauropod where sauropods are shown to be docile and friendly. Similarly, compare Herbivores Are Friendly as ornithopods are usually shown to be non-threatening animals in the long-run. Contrast Tough Armored Dinosaur, Headbutting Pachy, and Temper-Ceratops which depict herbivorous dinosaur clades as territorial and brutish, alongside Raptor Attack and Terror-dactyl which serve to portray raptors and pterosaurs by exaggerating their size and/or aggressive nature. Also contrast Prehistoric Monster where every prehistoric animal, regardless of diet, is depicted as a stereotypical monster rather than an actual animal. Aquatic Hadrosaurs can be a subtrope, as hadrosaurs are a kind of ornithopods.
- Daikyouryu no Jidai: Among the sleeping dinosaurs are a mother Iguanodon with her young and a trio of Edmontosaurus (identified as Trachodon) huddled together. Later, a pair of Corythosaurus and another trio of Edmontosaurus watch a fight between two Pachycephalosaurus.
- Dinosaur War Izenborg averts this with the villainous Iguanodon, Edmontosaurus/Trachodon and Parasaurolophus, all of which work by themselves.
- Seton Academy: Join the Pack! has numerous dinosaur species as being school teachers, with the residential ornithopods being Parasaurolophus and Iguanodon. The Parasaurolophus, much like the other dinosaurs are good-natured residents who devote their time to educate and interact with their students as much as they could, while the Iguanodon is the school doctor taking care of sick or injured students.
- You Are Umasou: The Maiasaura herd is heavily featured with the family being the primary supporting characters, given that they adopted and raised a Tyrannosaurus rex named Heart throughout the first act of the film.
- In one issue of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, "Escape From Forbidden Valley", Donald gets taken by a hadrosaur who thinks he is her baby. At the end, the Ducks bring back a dinosaur egg that hatches into another hadrosaur, which they keep in Scrooge's zoo.
- The critically panned Marville comic run features the protagonist Kal-AOL talking to a hadrosaur named Snorts during his time-travel shenanigans. Kal and Snorts talk about how the latter is able to speak with Snorts stating that hadrosaurs have the most elaborate voice boxes in history, which biologically doesn't make any sense.
- Xenozoic Tales: The residential hadrosaur in Earth after some kind of disaster is Parasaurolophus. They are referred to in the setting as Hornbill and are regarded as peaceful animals that are usually found in herds.
- Dinosaur! (1985): One of the major focuses on this Christopher Reeve narrated documentary is a family of Hadrosaurus who are trying to take care of their offspring.
- Dinosaur Planet exclusively takes place in the Cretaceous Period with two of the episodes featuring hadrosaurs. The first one, "Pod's Travels" feature Rhabdodon (identified as Iguanodon) as animals that travel in herds as a means of protection against predators, notably Pyroraptor and Tarascosaurus. The second one, Little Das's Hunt feature Maiasaura as the main herbivore dinosaur in the show, with juveniles Buck and Blaze having to find a way to reunite with their herd whilst being stalked by a family of Daspletosaurus. The episode also features a flock of Orodromeus being hunted by Troodon.
- The first episode of Life on Our Planet shows Maiasaura travelling in herds with thousands of members.
- Planet Dinosaur details several different dinosaur species and their reaction towards the environment and other species via fossil detail in 6 episodes. Featured ornithopods include Ouranosaurus, Jeholosaurus, Edmontosaurus, Camptosaurus and Gasparinisaura. All of the shown ornithopods are shown as being social animals who live in herds. The Edmontosaurus is a notable case as a juvenile is hunted by a pack of Troodon who seek to separate it from its herd. The adults are alerted and drive the Troodon away... but the juvenile dies from injuries inflicted by the Troodon, who come back to scavenge on its carcass.
- In numerous episodes of Prehistoric Planet, hadrosaurs make appearances, and in all appearances they are depicted as herd-dwelling animals which care for and travel with their young. Word of God has confirmed the series intentionally show hadrosaurs with young very often on purpose; dinosaurs, unlike mammalian megafauna, have large clutch sizes and therefore many young.
- Walking with Dinosaurs: Iguanodon and Edmontosaurus (identified as Anatotitian) are shown in "Giants of the Skies" and "Death of a Dynasty" respectively, being social dinosaurs that travel in groups grazing for food and looking after one another. The fifth episode, "Spirits of the Ice Forest" is centered on a Leaellynasaura clan as they struggle to survive in Late Cretaceous Antarctica, and also shows a herd of Muttaburrasaurus migrating through the area, stalked all the while by an allosaur.
- When Dinosaurs Roamed America: The fifth and last segment of the show features a family of Tyrannosaurus rex attempt to hunt an Edmontosaurus (identified as Anatotitan) who are shown living in groups.
- The Geeky Zoologist's reimagining of Jurassic World features Parasaurolophus, Corythosaurus, Shantungosaurus, Dryosaurus and Hypsilophodon. All of them are depicted as gregarious, though the herd sizes tend to vary, with the Dryosaurus living in herds of around thirty individuals while the Shantungosaurus live in groups made of a bit more than half a dozen of individuals.
- All ornithopod dinosaurs (i.e. iguanodonts, hadrosaurs, dryosaurs, etc.) rescued so far in Prehistoric Park Reimagined have been shown living together in herds, often even managing to live in combined herds together alongside non ornithopod herbivorous dinosaurs.
- Dinosaur is about an Iguanodon named Aladar who, in a very weird case, lives with a group of lemurs throughout his life. After a comet strike that destroys his island, Aladar is forced to travel alongside a struggling herd of different herbivorous dinosaurs that includes ornithopods like Parasaurolophus and Iguanodon. The leader is the latter named Kron who, in a stark contrast to Herbivores Are Friendly, is a Social Darwinist who is rather brutish and rigidly authoritative about keeping his herd intact.
- Fantasia: The Rite of Spring segment features several plant-eating dinosaurs grazing peacefully near a water hole before a Tyrannosaurus rex attacks. Among the herbivores shown are hadrosaurs like Parasaurolophus, Anatosaurus, Corythosaurus and Kritosaurus.
- The token ornithopods in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs are Iguanodon that travel in herds. However, they are also among the dinosaurs that surround and menace the main cast.
- The Land Before Time films feature Bigmouths as the representing Ornithopods in the setting. Bigmouths are usually seen in large groups and herds composed of other herbivorous dinosaurs, with Ducky, a Saurolophus and one of the main characters, being a member of the Gang of Seven, a group of seven infant dinosaurs of different species. Out of the Gang, Ducky has the sweetest and most naive personality, filling the role of The Heart.
- Speckles: The Tarbosaurus: As the film is set in Korea with an emphasis on dinosaurs that lived in Asia ("big" emphasis on Asia), the depicted hadrosaur is Charanosaurus, a stand-in for Parasaurolophus, and Hypsilophodon also makes some appearances now and then, despite the dinosaur having lived in the Early Cretaceous. Both are shown to be living in groups and are seen travelling with surviving herbivorous dinosaurs after a volcanic eruption that destroys their homeland.
- We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story zigzags this with a Parasaurolophus named Dweeb who's a mindless beast before being reverted into a ditzy animal who's part of the central dinosaur quartet that's composed of Rex the Tyrannosaurus, Woog the Triceratops and Elsa the Pteranodon.
- Jurassic Park
- Jurassic Park (1993): The Parasaurolophus makes its only appearance in the film with a herd drinking at a large water hole alongside the Brachiosaurus.
Alan Grant: They're moving in herds. They do move in herds.
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park: The Parasaurolophus returns, being shown as a herd of them are being pursued and captured by a hunting team conducted by Roland Tembo, who is working with InGen under Peter Ludlow, who intends to open up a Jurassic Park in San Diego. However, the Parasaurs, alongside an assortment of herbivores are released by an expedition team led by Ian Malcolm and they all tear up the hunters' camp.
- Jurassic Park III once again features the Parasaurolophus, alongside the Corythosaurus. They are incited into a panic when Dr Grant's rescue team attempt to escape from a pack of Velociraptors whose eggs Billy Brennan had stolen.
- Jurassic World: The Parasaurolophus return again, this time they graze alongside Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Apatosaurus. However, there is a Funny Background Event in which two Parasaurs fight.
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom features the Parasaurolophus as among the captive dinosaurs getting released into the world by Maisie Lockwood.
- Jurassic World Dominion has Parasaurolophus being rounded up by Owen and company on horseback and are later shown running with wild horses. The film also features Iguanodon living alongside other dinosaurs.
- Jurassic Park (1993): The Parasaurolophus makes its only appearance in the film with a herd drinking at a large water hole alongside the Brachiosaurus.
- King Kong (2005): While only a dead specimen is shown in the film proper, the Ligocristus, a species of hadrosaurid that survived to the modern day in Skull Island is given more emphasis in the companion book, The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island. It is mentioned that the Ligocristis are defenceless against predators like the Vastatosaurus rex and thus seek safety by being in groups.
- The Lost World averts this with an Edmontosaurus (identified as Trachodon) browsing through a tree all on its own. It displays some aggression when confronted by an Allosaurus.
- T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous: Parasaurolophus is the only herbivore shown in the film, in a scene that is very reminiscent to the aforementioned Jurassic Park, a herd gathered around a water hole.
- Astrosaurs: Two of the main characters are an anthropomorphized Corythosaurus and Iguanodon who go on space adventures in a crew led by a Stegosaurus concerning some kind of MacGuffin or help. Each of the dinosaurs are friendly and are more than welcome to aid anyone in need.
- The Dinosaur Lords features several kinds of dinosaurs as battling mounts in a rather Game of Thrones-inspired setting (something actually said by George R. R. Martin). The featured hadrosaurs include Parasaurolophus and Lambeosaurus who are noted to be placid in their general behaviour and thus make for easy mounts.
- Dinotopia: As befitting for a setting that is essentially a dinosaurian Utopia, most of the Herbivores, ornithopods get along splendidly with humans and establish a social community with another. Ornithopods can be seen performing societal tasks such as carriage, receiving and sending messages, providing trade etc.
- Gigantosaurus: One of the major infant dinosaurs in the quartet is a Parasaurolophus, who joins along with the other three (Triceratops, Diplodocus and Ankylosaurus) in search of the titular Gigantosaurus.
- Jurassic Park:
- Both Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna have living, breathing dinosaurs cloned by InGen. They are initially created and bred in the latter before being taken to the former, where Jurassic Park is to be established for visitors to attend. Isla Nublar is the main setting for Jurassic Park (1990), where the featured ornithopods are Maiasaura, Hadrosaurus, Othnielia and Hypsilophodon. As expected, there is a sizable number of the four dinosaurs cloned, indicating that they must have been social animals.
- The Lost World (1995), which takes place in Isla Sorna has the aforementioned Maiasaura and Hyspilophodon as native animals alongside the Parasaurolophus. They are witnessed by the expedition team and Dodgson's crew to be docile dinosaurs who prefer to live in herds.
- The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution is a speculative take on how dinosaurs could have evolved had their extinction not taken place. Along these speculated dinosaurs include the following ornithopods:
- Balaclav (Nivesaurus yetiforme), a mountain-dwelling thescelosaur that lives in small family groups. Its social preference may have something to do with the fact that it lives in a very harsh environment.
- Bricket (Rubusaurus petasus), a deer-like lambeosaurine hadrosaurid. It lives in small herds and males tend to become territorial during mating seasons.
- Coneater (Strobofagus borealis), a large species of hypsilophodont. The dinosaur lives in small herds, but are noted to have been social animals, and this is what contributed to the Coneater's success. They were migratory animals, travelling around depending on the season and were adapted to eating cones and tree barks in winter.
- Gwanna (Gryllusaurus flavus), a kangaroo-like rhabdodontid that was descended from Muttaburrasaurus, meaning that the dinosaur lived in Australia. It was stated to live in family groups composed of 5 adults and several infants and juveniles. It is mentioned that while hadrosaurids dominated the rest of the world, Australia was isolated enough for remaining iguanodonts to still persist and flourish there.
- Hanuhan (Grimposaurus pernipes), a species of hypsilophodont that lives on the mountainside of the Himalayas. It prefers to live in small family groups, given the dangerous environment of the mountainside.
- Sprintosaurs, antelope-like hadrosaurs that have adapted to live in grasslands, hence adapting new features like a more slender body build for quick speed and agility. They are herd animals that constantly graze throughout the grasslands in medium to large numbers.
- Raptor Red takes place in Early Cretaceous North America, from the point of view of the titular Utahraptor. Iguanodonts (two species are featured: one more definitely based on Iguanodon itself and another, smaller species that lives in the mountains) are regular prey items for her pack, and they behave more or less like large modern mammilain herbivores: running in herds for protection, prone to stampeding when they detect predators, and - taking a page from Cape buffalo - from time to time becoming so enraged by losing a member of their herd that they try to trample and kill the carnivores.
- Ten Little Dinosaurs has a weird subversion with a Saurolophus playing a baseball game that also happens to insult his umpire the moment his playstyle is not going in his favour.
- Land of the Lost (1991): The main dinosaur character is Tasha, an infant Parasaurolophus who is taken in by the Porters after her mother was killed by Scarface while she was still in an egg. She comes to see the Porters as her surrogate parents, especially with the youngest, Annie.
- The Lost World (2001): As in its original source material, a herd of Iguanodon can be seen migrating to a new area to rest and graze at. In an early scene, Malone befriends a Hypsilophodon.
- Prehistoric Park has a herd of Parasaurolophus shown in the final episode "Supercroc". The herd is shown to be docile and close, though they do get started and don't tend to defend others of its kind, especially after one is killed by the titular Deinosuchus. While they are shown multiple times, Nigel doesn't make an effort to try bringing them to the present day.
- The Archotek Project: As a dinosaur Simulator, there are several different dinosaurs, with the listed ornithopoda being Anatosaurus, Hypsilophodon, Parasaurolophus and Thescelosaurus. While they can be seen alone at times, they would normally prefer to be in groups of 4 or more, making them one of the more social animals in the game.
- ARK: Survival Evolved features several dinosaurs as potential dossier for players to tame, ride and use for their own benefit. Among these dinosaurs are ornithopods such as Iguanodon, Parasaurolophus and Pegomastax. The former two are docile with players for the most part, with Parasaurolophus being easily tamed. Pegomastax subverts this by being pranksters of sorts and being annoying rather than sociable.
- The Carnivores series subverts this trope as while Parasaurolophus is an available animal to be hunted, it is always seen alone, just like the other huntable dinosaurs. And add-on from Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter also includes the Iguanodon, that likewise acts like a Parasaurolophus does socially, except it can actually kill you, unlike the other herbivores, save for the Chasmosaurus. In Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter HD and Carnivores: Reborn, the Parasaurolophus can now kill you.
- Dino Run: Normally subverted as a Parasaurolophus is sometimes seen alone amongst the many dinosaurs that seen once the meteor collision causes an impending "Wall of Doom", though they can provide the player Raptor with a ride. However, it's played straight in the ending of the Very Hard mode of surviving where the difficulty's Sanctuary, an alien spaceship, houses several different dinosaurs, with one of them being a Parasaurolophus family.
- Dinosaur Safari features the player going back in time to observe and collect photos of several dinosaurs in different time periods. Duck-billed hadrosaurs are common and would usually be seen with a companion or herd, as does a flock of Hypsilophodon.
- Jurassic Park:
- Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis: The herbivorous dinosaurs are listed as having "friends" instead of "preferred prey" like the carnivores. The featured ornithopods, Dryosaurus, Corythosaurus, Edmontosaurus, Ouranosaurus and Parasaurolophus predictably have other ornithopod members or their own species as friends. It is common to see pre-established maps feature these dinosaurs having herds in their exhibits.
- Jurassic World: Evolution continues this trend by featuring many ornithopods, most prominently hadrosaurs as animals that are most happy when they are in groups of one another and don't seem to mind the company of other herbivorous dinosaurs as well, even if they come from another location and time period.
- Monster Hunter features Aptonoth, a Parasaurolophus-like herbivore that is one of the most common bestiaries found throughout the series. They are normally seen in small family herds and usually don't mind hunters getting near their presence... until they're attacked.
- Prehistoric Isle: The games subvert any chances of Herbivores Are Friendly by showing the dinosaurs as hostile threats that shoot fireballs. A Parasaurolophus appears in the Sequel that acts no different from any other dinosaur. Some of the dinosaurs, the Parasaurs included may appear in groups, but it still doesn't change their supposedly vicious behaviour in-game.
- Saurian is set exclusively in the Hell Creek Formation set at the very end of the Cretaceous Period. There are two residing ornithopods in the game; Thescelosaurus and Edmontosaurus (identified in-game as Anatosaurus). The Thescelosaurus is sometimes seen either alone or in small flocks whereas the Anatosaurus is one of the most social dinosaurs in the game, with the animal usually being in herds as a means of social communication and as defence, especially for infants and juveniles. When the devs were considering the Anatosaurus as a playable dinosaur, they cited the "herd" aspect as being one of its major elements regarding its gameplay. Sadly, the Anatosaurus lost out to Ankylosaurus and Anzu.
- World of Warcraft has the "Lost Platysaur" as a pet companion that can hang around with the Player Character should they choose to. It's clearly based on the Saurolophus, or more specifically, Ducky in The Land Before Time.
- Zniw Adventure: Hadrosaurs and small ornithopods are shown living together in societies with each other and other herbivorous dinosaurs.
- Zoo Tycoon: Downplayed with the two included ornithopods in the "Dinosaur Digs" expansion of the first game, Iguanodon and Lambeosaurus. While they do prefer being in groups, it's also listed as being in "small family groups" plus they can still lead a comfortable solitary life if the player wills it.
- Dinosauria: The third short "A More Ancient Spring" focuses on a mixed herd of hadrosaurs gathering for the breeding season, with a male Lambeosaurus' struggle to find a mate after his original partner is killed by a Gorgosaurus taking up most of the plot.
- 64,000,000 Years Ago, which is set at the end of the Cretaceous Period in North America has an Edmontosaurus herd where the males are competing with one another before going on to mate with the female members. However, a Tyrannosaurus rex interferes.
- The Darkwing Duck episode "Extinct Possibility" had Darkwing, Gosalyn, and Launchpad going back to the Cretaceous period and encountering Parasaurolophus that live in a city, with some of them having formed a scientific council. They then have to save the hadrosaurs from a Tyrannosaurus biker gang.
- Dink, the Little Dinosaur features a Corythosaurus named Amber as one of the members of a group of infant dinosaurs in a prehistoric Slice of Life setting. There are other ornithopods including Ariel the Parasaurolophus who once saved Amber from Tyrannor, most of whom get along with the protagonists and prefer a social circle.
- Averted hard with the Poundersaurolophus (part-Parasaurolophus, part-piledriver), which are not only solitary but extremely aggressive that they pound everything in sight.
- The Liftasaurs (part-Corythosaurus, part-forklift) play this straight in that they gather in herds, although they are also stubborn and competitive.
- Downplayed with Flynt and Fritz the hydrodons who are half-Iguanodon, half-fire truck. Despite living alone they're shown to be pretty friendly fellows who don't mind the company of other Trux.
- In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Dinosaur Ducks", the kids encounter a friendly baby Hadrosaurus that they have to reunite with its mother. The Hadrosaurus, however, look more like sauropods with duckbills and crests, although the baby has a short neck. In an unusual subversion of the stereotype, the mother hadrosaur fiercely fights a Tyrannosaurus rex threatening her young (and, by extension, the ducks). Both the mother and baby, however, are shown by themselves and not in a herd.
- Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous features Parasaurolophus and Ouranosaurus living in herds.
- March of the Dinosaurs focuses on a herd of Edmontosaurus, alongside a Troodon as they make a migratory travel south. The main Edmontosaurus is named Scar, a juvenile who struggles to keep up with his herd and also struggles to find a mate.
- Primal (2019) has an aversion with a hadrosaur (presumably Parasaurolophus) that is not only all on its own but is a vicious and rampaging beast to boot. Though that's probably because the hadrosaur is infected with a plague, turning it zombie-like.