Some Dinosaurs Shed Teeth In Adolescence

Posted: Dec 23 2016, 3:35am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Some Dinosaurs Shed Teeth in Adolescence
Researchers have discovered that a species of dinosaur, Limusaurus inextricabilis, lost its teeth in adolescence and did not grow another set as adults. The finding, published today in Current Biology, is a radical change in anatomy during a lifespan and may help to explain why birds have beaks but no teeth. Credit: George Washington University
  • Evolution of Toothless Dinosaurs played a Role in the Development of the Beak

The evolution of toothless dinosaurs eventually played a role in the development of the beak.

After a comparison of the fossilized remains of 13 ceratosaurian theropod dinosaurs found in China, it was found that their maturation from being babies to the age of 10 was a source of valuable information.

The finding was reported in the journal Current Biology.

The really surprising fact was that they had teeth in their juvenile days but lost them as they grew up. This makes this dinosaur a rarity since it shows ontogenetic edentulism.

The toothed juveniles most probably ate all things including flesh. However, the beaked adults turned to more vegetarian stuff as a source of sustenance. The research began in 2001.

At that point in time only one sample had been collected and the scientists did not know what it was or what function it fulfilled in the scheme of things. As time progressed, more samples were found.

However, what remained a mystery was whether they all belonged to one species or to different species. At first it was thought that two distinct species had been chanced upon.

The toothed and the toothless varieties baffled scientists who thought that they were up against two different variants. However, as they looked deeper into the stuff the dinosaurs were made up of, they noticed that for all purposes they were the same with very little difference.

The only exception was the teeth. Finally the conclusion was reached that they were the same dinosaurs but with the difference that the juveniles had teeth while the mature species didn’t have any teeth but beaks instead. A total of 78 transformations were noted down. Yet tooth loss was the most prominent of them all.

This research points the way to the evolution of the beak which figures prominently in many species including some dinosaurs. Tooth loss is a process that takes place even today.

Even certain fish and an amphibian lose their teeth with time. Platypuses also let go of their teeth with the passage of time. Yet this discovery holds extra special meaning for the evolution of dinosaurs.

Apparently the diet strategies of various dinosaurs changed over time. Even their digestive systems underwent transformations in their structural-functional features. This special case of toothless dinosaurs is being looked into with great interest by scientists.

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