Saturday, June 06, 2015

The Complex Structure & Function of Triceratops Teeth

Wear biomechanics in the slicing dentition of the giant horned dinosaur Triceratops. 2015. Science Advances.

Modern reptilian teeth are constructed in such a way that they are used mostly for seizing, but not chewing, food. In contrast, the teeth of most herbivorous mammals self-wear with use to create complex file surfaces for mincing plants.

New work shows that Triceratops teeth were made of five layers of tissue. In contrast, herbivorous horse and bison teeth, once considered the most complex ever to evolve, have four layers of tissue. Crocodiles and other reptiles have just two.

A sophisticated three-dimensional model was developed to show how each tissue wore with use in a strategic manner to create a complex surface with a fuller (a recessed area in the middle, much like those seen in fighting knives and swords) on each tooth. This served to reduce friction during biting and promote efficient feeding. PR