News / Science & Technology

Dinosaur Teeth Fell Out Often, Regrew Quickly

Stoney Brook University paleontologist Michael D’Emic with a cast of the lower jaw of Camarasaurus, which replaced its teeth every 60 days. (Courtesy Michael D’Emic)
Stoney Brook University paleontologist Michael D’Emic with a cast of the lower jaw of Camarasaurus, which replaced its teeth every 60 days. (Courtesy Michael D’Emic)
Rosanne Skirble
Certain plant-eating dinosaurs wore out their teeth chewing on all of that vegetation, but new chompers quickly grew in to replace them, according to new research.

Two of the prehistoric world's largest dinosaurs - Diplodocus and Camarasaurus - lived side by side for millions of years, and although they occupied the same ecosystem, and were both herbivores, they did not compete for the same kind of food.

Stony Brook University paleontologist Michael D’Emic wanted to know why. So, as if they were paleo-dentists, D’Emic and his team removed teeth encased in fossil skulls of the two animals to look for clues. 

“We looked at their tooth shapes, their tooth sizes, and their tooth formation and replacement rates," he said, "and we found that these things were very different in these two animals.”

LISTEN: Dinosaur Teeth Fell Out Often, Regrew Quickly
Dinosaur Teeth Fell Out Often, Regrew Quicklyi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

The distantly related sauropods also had different body types. Diplodocus had low slung shoulders, a horse shaped skull, a tremendously elongated neck and a whip-like tail. Camarasaurus had a shorter neck and thicker tail, larger teeth and a broader skull.  

In the late Jurassic period, some 150 million years ago, both species fed on ferns and tough evergreen vegetation like conifers, which could wear teeth down quickly. But sauropod teeth grew rapidly; when one tooth fell out, another was already lined up to replace it.

Diplodocus teeth wore down and were replaced about once a month, with as many as five teeth in waiting in each tooth socket. (Courtesy Michael D’Emic)Diplodocus teeth wore down and were replaced about once a month, with as many as five teeth in waiting in each tooth socket. (Courtesy Michael D’Emic)


These extinct herbivores lost and replaced teeth at a remarkable rate. D'Emic called Diplodocus an extreme case.

"So, it would have had a new tooth in each tooth socket about every month. Camarasaurus, a little bit slower, about one every two months," he said. "Now because Camarasaurus’ teeth are so much bigger and broader than were Diplodocus’, it was actually producing and going through a lot more material faster.”
 
D’Emic said feeding habits were a factor in the survival of these two giants in the same ecosystem. Camarasaurus took a quality over quantity approach to its diet, while Diplodocus grazed with its head on the ground eating as much, as fast as it could.  

Studies like his, D’Emic said, bring the daily life of dinosaurs alive for people today.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs