[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Looking for tiny dinosaurs

In a message dated 8/12/98 3:35:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
jhecht@world.std.com writes:

> Another way to look for signs of tiny dinosaurs would be to search for
>  small teeth, the most likely fossils as for Mesozoic mammals (many of which
>  are known only from teeth).

 Has anybody done this?

I have!  Sort of.  And not while specifically looking for mammal or other
microverts either.

In the course of my field work in the Arundel Clay, I _routinely_ find very
small theropod teeth and on occasion even sauropod and ankylosaur teeth.
Ditto for croc teeth.  It is almost certain that at least in _some_cases_
these are in fact teeth of juveniles.  Of course we have our own small
coelurosaurs and a probable Dromaeosaurid similar to Deinonychus, but there
are even small, I mean really small versions of even these.  Speaking for the
theropods, I believe it is generally regarded that juvenile theropod teeth
are, except for their size, identical in morphology to the adult versions.
Scaled down adult teeth you might say. 

I would assume the sauropods, occupying the other branch of saurischia, like
the theropoda,  would probably follow the trend observed in theropods but I
_do_ not_ know for sure.

In the case of the ankylosaurs, I have been told that size does not
necessarily indicate ontogenetic stage as this clade often has a widely
varying dentition. 

>Are small dinosaur teeth
>  considered evidence of juveniles, or of possible small species?

So the answer to this is yes and no! And i am sure others will be able to
expand on this on a clade by clade basis ;-)


Thomas R. Lipka
Paleontological/Geological Studies