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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid