Dinosaur Teeth By: Larissa Michel 5/6/10 ‘Sue’ Field Museum Chicago, Illinois
The Well Known Types of Teeth • Herbivores (plant eaters), had flat teeth for chewing leaves (Some sauropods, such as Diplodocus, had peg-shaped teeth that weren’t designed to chew leaves. Instead, they swallowed stones, known as stomach stones or gastroliths, to help grind up their food). • Carnivores (meat eaters), such as the well-known Tyrannosaurus Rex, T.Rex for short, all had very similar teeth: shaped like daggers, serrated, and very sharp. Their teeth were made for separating flesh from bone and ripping prey apart. • Omnivores (plant and meat eaters) had both sharp teeth and flat teeth; each kind of tooth was used for the same purpose that the above teeth were.
Less Well Known Types of Teeth • Duckbilled dinosaurs’ beaks were toothless. Behind the beak, there was a mouth with hundreds of diamond-shaped teeth lining the lower and upper jaws. • Sauropod teeth were either peglike (for raking in leaves) or spoon-shaped (for nipping vegetation). • Ceratopsian (horned) dinosaurs, such as Triceratops, had sharp, scissor-like teeth to slice up leaves. • Toothless beaks (with mouths behind them) were common among some types of herbivores.
Talk About Bad Breath! • Tyrannosaurus wasn’t just powerful and terrifying-its breath probably smelled awful, too! • T.Rex’s teeth had rows of tiny serrations along the edges. Tiny pieces of flesh became stuck in these and rotted. Bacteria multiplied in T.Rex’s mouth. Even if the prey escaped, it would slowly die of sepsis (blood poisoning) because the wound would have become infected, thanks to the bacteria! T.Rex tooth next to a ruler
Egg Thief • Oviraptor looked like an oversized chicken, but it was actually a carnivore from the Cretaceous. • Oviraptor ate small mammals, lizards, and small dinosaurs. It even stole eggs from dinosaur nests when the moms weren’t looking (hence its name and nickname)! • Oviraptor had two bumps that represented teeth in the roof of its mouth. It may have used these to crack eggs open.
Bibliography • Slides 2,4, &5: Bergen, David. Life-Size Dinosaurs. Pages 12, 13, 14, & 19. New York, NY: Sterling, 2004. Print. • Slide 3: Norman, David, and Angela Milner. Eyewitness Books: Dinosaur. Pages 26, 27, & 30. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989. Print. • Cover Picture: "Tyrannosaurus." Www.wikipedia.org. Web. • Other Pictures and Slide 6: Google Images. Tooth from Ichthyosaurus, a marine dinosaur that is the distant relative of today’s dolphins.