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RE:Teeth




Mark Shelly wrote:
> 
> Teeth
> 
>    From the recent discussions on teeth, it would seem that this is an
> area that someone could specialize in.  Almost every article I read on
> dinosaur discoveries mentions some type of theropod teeth.  It would be
> helpful if you could readily look up teeth types found and identify the
> general type of dinosaurs from an area.  Likewise, teeth sifters could
> pass on information on specific small teeth found to someone specifically
> working in this area.  Knowing where teeth were located could also be
> useful in identifying the types of dinosaurs from a specific region.
> Useful information is often found by footprints - such as the possibility
> of larger animals from those known.  Likewise, large teeth might indicate
> that there are possibly larger or smaller species than already found.
>    Questions abound.  What happens to dinosaur teeth found by mammal
> hunters?  Were there any small theropods at the KT boundary?  Were small
> theropods as numerous as small mammals based on teeth finds?  Can teeth be
> used to age dinosaurs?  Would the presence of teeth over the ages help
> identify the relationship of dinosaurs?  Would a look at the change in
> ornithopod teeth show how they evolved over time?  Would the evolution and
> type of teeth indicate the type of vegetation eaten? Are there teeth out
> there for which we have no known dinosaur?
>    With replaceable teeth, they should be fairly common.  The hard part is
> finding out about their prevalence.   Full scale diagrams with cross
> sections could be produced that would act as a great field guide,
> especially for non dinosaur paleontologists.
>    Is there anyone working is the area?

        Actually, this is the exact thought that went through my mind 
about a year ago.  I came to the same conclusions as you and I guess this 
is going to be the next place where I focus my attention (i.e., hoping to 
fill this exact slot).

        I will comment on the earlier discussions about teeth later, but 
I will be happy to answer questions on this topic.

Cheers,
Josh



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Josh Smith
Department of Geology
University of Pennsylvania
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