Dinosaurs Replaced Teeth: Why Not Us?

Two Majungasaurus hunting down a Rapetosaurus. (ABelov2014 via Wikicommons under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Flesh-Ripping Dinosaurs Replaced Their Teeth Multiple Times a Year

by Riley Black/Smithsonian.com

For carnivorous dinosaurs, staying sharp was of the utmost importance. Whether they were slicing flesh from the flanks of their prey or crushing the bones of their victims into splinters, the business of eating other animals can be tough on the teeth.

Like all toothy dinosaurs, prehistoric carnivores replaced their teeth throughout their lives. New cutlery constantly grew in their jaws to push old or broken teeth out of the way. And a new study published today in PLOS ONE reveals how often three Mesozoic meat eaters replaced their chompers. The evidence that these carnivores grew new teeth several times a year also can tell us new things about how these animals hunted and fed.

The research, published by Adelphi University paleontologist Michael D’Emic and colleagues, continues previous work that examined the teeth of herbivorous dinosaurs. In 2013 D’Emic and coauthors calculated that the long-necked Jurassic herbivores Camarasaurus and Diplodocus replaced one tooth every 62 days and 35 days, respectively. Plant food can be abrasive, wearing down teeth quickly, and so herbivorous dinosaurs required a constantly renewed supply. But what about the carnivores?

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  1. We will never have teeth replacement, Carol. Because the army of dental industry will be against it. Just like oilers at modern fuel market will never let our cars work on simple water 😀

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