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Paronychodon teeth are NOT homalocephalid fangs - killing an internet rumor
While researching Paronychodon for my website, I came across a rumor started
on the DML by Olshevsky, and decided I might as well kill it on the DML as
An odd possibility was suggested by Olshevsky (DML, 1997), that some
Paronychodon specimens, including the holotype, may be anterior dentary
fangs of "homalocephalid" pachycephalosaurs (cf. Goyocephale) . However, the
dentary fangs of Goyocephale are serrated distally, polygonal in section,
have a bulbous root, and seem to only possess one lingual ridge.
Premaxillary teeth of Goyocephale are somewhat similar to type B teeth of
Paronychodon, but lack ridges, are much less labiolingually compressed, and
have distal serrations apically. Stegoceras teeth are even less similar,
being serrated both mesially and distally with no ridges. The supposed
Middle Jurassic pachycephalosaur Ferganocephale has vertical enamel ridges
on the base of one side and lacks serrations, but is otherwise highly
distinct, being unrecurved, short and uncompressed labiolingually, with a
prominent cingulum. The ridges radiate from the base instead of the apex and
the entire tooth shape is distinctively ornithischian. Besides the
anatomical differences, stratigraphically Paronychodon and "homalocephalids"
are also mismatched, with the latter only known from the
Campanian-Maastrichtian of Mongolia and perhaps China. The utter lack of
"homalocephalids" in well sampled strata like the Dinosaur Park Formation is
particularily telling. Also notable is that each "homalocephalid" only had
eight fang-like teeth, but had around sixty-six leaf-shaped teeth. So we
would expect more pachycephalosaur teeth by a factor of 8:1 or so, but
Baszio (1997) showed this is not the case. For instance, he recorded 12
Paronychodon teeth from the Dinosaur Park Formation, and only 16
pachycephalosaur teeth. Similarly, Baszio recorded 84 Paronychodon teeth
from the Milk River Formation, but only 16 pachycephalosaur teeth. Finally,
Zinke and Rauhut (1994) described paronychodontid teeth within a theropod
dentary fragment, though these differ from Paronychodon in some details.
References- Zinke and Rauhut, 1994. Small theropods (Dinosauria, Saurischia)
from the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous of the Iberian Peninsula.
Berliner geowiss. Abh.. E 13, 163-177.
Baszio, 1997. Investigations on Canadian dinosaurs: systematic palaeontology
of isolated dinosaur teeth from the Latest Cretaceous of south Alberta,
Canada. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg. 196, 33-77.