All About Dinosaur Teeth
Dinosaur teeth are among the most plentiful fossil finds, and paleontologists have been able to learn a lot from them. In fact, the discovery of iguanodon teeth in 1822 is said to have been the catalyst of dinosaur study in the Western world. The size and shape of a dinosaur tooth tells scientists what type of animal they are looking at, which order of dinosaur the animal belonged to, and what the animal ate. For example, many herbivores, or vegetation-eating animals, had triangular teeth that were designed for cutting or slicing plant life. Meat-eaters like the tyrannosaurus had teeth that were long, curved, and sharp; one edge of their teeth was typically serrated like a modern steak knife to help the animal tear up meat.
- Saurischians are the oldest of the two orders of dinosaurs. They had a “lizard-hipped,” or downward-pointing, pelvic structure.
- In addition to being “lizard-hipped,” saurischian dinosaurs had grasping hands with asymmetrical fingers, which are used to identify them.
- There are two sub-groups of saurischians: sauropods, which have long necks, and theropods, which can be identified by the movable joint centered in their lower jaw.
- Up to 100 species of sauropods are known to have lived during the Upper Triassic and Late Cretaceous periods.
- These herbivores are the biggest animals that have ever walked on the earth.
- Some sauropods had flat spatula-shaped teeth, while others had teeth that were more peg-like.
- Though “theropoda” means “beast-feet,” “bird-like” is a more accurate description of these dinosaurs’ feet.
- Theropods were a carnivorous sub-order that included huge beasts like the tyrannosaurus.
- It is widely believed that birds are descendants of theropod dinosaurs.
- Theropods couldn’t boast a perfect smile, but humans can get one with an Ocala cosmetic dentist.
- There are almost 400 species of this dinosaur order; they have backward-pointing pelvises and are also known as “bird-hipped.”
- Ornithischians date to the early Jurassic period and include armored dinosaurs like the stegosaurus.
- Ornithischians were herbivores that had teeth that were either blunt or leaf-shaped.
- The stegosaurus is one of the most well known “bird-hipped” dinosaurs. They lived in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming as well as in Europe, China, and South Africa.
- Stegosaurids have been found around the world, from Asia and Africa to Europe and North America.
- The narrow-snouted stegosaurids were probably picky eaters that didn’t gobble many types of vegetation at one time.
- Hadrosaurs roamed the earth between 65 and 205 million years ago and were as large as 33 feet long.
- A large number of hadrosaur tracks found in Denali National Park indicate that these animals lived in the Arctic all year.
- Hadrosaurs had bumpy skin and hoof-like feet; they probably lived near but not in water.
- Iguanodontids had large back legs and smaller forearms; their fossils are often constructed as bipedal, but these dinosaurs may have been able to walk on two or four legs.
- “Iguanodontid” means “iguana tooth,” and this animal’s teeth were leaf-shaped with long ridges on the side, much like those of a modern iguana.
- In 1825, the first complete dinosaur skeleton was described; it belonged to an iguanodontid. This animal had three toes and is believed to have stood on its hind legs.
- Iguanadontid teeth would certainly be no challenge for skilled Ocala orthodontists.
- Heterodontosaurus was a small, fast dinosaur; the dinosaur’s maximum size was only about three feet long.
- Heterodontosaurus had five fingers on each hand, two of which were opposable.
- Heterodontosaurus means “different-toothed lizard“; it got its name because unlike most lizards that only have one type of tooth, Heterodontosaurus had three types of teeth and is thought by some to have been an omnivore like man.
- Diverse diets can damage teeth and cause pain, but an Ocala sedation dentist can take the pain out of getting damaged teeth repaired.
- Ceratopsians are considered the rhino of dinosaurs because they were horned, had a beak and a frill, and grew quite large.
- Triceratops is the biggest and best-known of the ceratopsians; it had three horns on a skull that was more than six feet long.
- Scientists believe that the ceratopsians’ frill was related to jaw mechanics and that it allowed the animals to chew more powerfully.
- Ankylosaurs were awkward-looking animals. Their back legs were longer than their front legs, and while they only grew about four feet tall, they could be as much as six feet wide.
- Ankylosaurs had heavy body armor and club tails; they were relatively flat animals that would have been difficult for predators to attack.
- Ankylosaurs had strong cheeks and triangle-shaped teeth that were made for slicing and plucking vegetation.
- Ornithomimids, the ostrich dinosaurs, are the fastest dinosaurs and easily much quicker than velociraptors.
- Ornithomimid fossils discovered near Alberta, Canada, indicate that feathers covered this dinosaur.
- Though ornithomimids were typically toothless, many scientists believe that they were likely omnivores and that they ate small animals as well as vegetation.