So first things first, I'm trying to put together a grounded cretaceous Western setting for a personal world building project. I'm aware of just how... Limited humans would be when it comes to diet options in this place in time. However I've already managed to find at least a few items that people desperate for something other than dino meat and fish would try to forage or even cultivate, and I can explain my reasoning for some of them. I could just handwaved a lot of this, but I like the challenge of finding any possible nutrition source from this time period. I'd love to know if there's anything I'm missing or to be corrected if I've gotten some things wrong, and if there are any other plants that humans might be able to eat

Pine nuts, Ginkgo nuts (potentially toxic, but the human body can tolerate it so long as you cook them and only eat a handful), Fiddleheads, Seaweed (older than dinosaurs, and nothing I've read suggests it shouldn't be safe to eat), Sago and Heart of Palm (there are a lot of palms that are very toxic, but palm plants were prominent in the cretaceous and these two foods are regularly harvested and eaten in Southeast Asia from certain palm plants. I think it would be a somewhat plausible contrivance that at least some of Palms had parts fit for human consumption similar to these)

Is this somewhat plausible? Am I completely wrong? Are there some I've overlooked?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ 75 MY BP is late Cretaceous. By that time the glorious angiosperm take-over was well on its way, most (maybe all) the modern families of trees were already in existence; so the humans could have grown maple trees and apple trees and whatever. And at least some grasses were already in existence, notably the rice tribe Oryzeae. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ I think your list is pretty good. I would just add Cycads (which would need processing to remove toxins - like the Ginkgo nuts) and Angiosperms (some of which could have provided edible fruits at that time). Also, don't forget insects. That could be a valuable source of protein. $\endgroup$
    – Hukk2010
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ Birds eggs, too! $\endgroup$
    – user98816
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/227031/… $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


Dinosaur wings.

enter image description here

Birds are dinosaurs and chickens are birds. Ergo, chickens are dinosaurs. Ergo, chickens taste like dinosaurs. Ergo, dinosaurs taste like chicken. Hence, KFD: It’s talon-licking good!

I’m serious though; there were many small, insectivorous or plant eating dinosaurs (such as orodromeus, which incidentally inhabited late Cretaceous North America) that your impromptu humans could hunt. Orodromeus in particular was a small herbivore about the size of a large chicken, which could potentially even be domesticated for eggs and meat.


  • $\begingroup$ "...desperate for something other than dino meat and fish would try to forage or even cultivate..." $\endgroup$
    – rek
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Oops. 🙊my bad. $\endgroup$
    – user98816
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 19:21

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