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Hadrosaur bite biomechanics
From: Ben Creisler
New in Science magazine. There is also a podcast and a news story on the topic.
Gregory M. Erickson, Brandon A. Krick, Matthew Hamilton, Gerald R.
Bourne, Mark A. Norell, Erica Lilleodden & W. Gregory Sawyer (2012)
Complex Dental Structure and Wear Biomechanics in Hadrosaurid Dinosaurs.
Science 338(6103): 98-101
Mammalian grinding dentitions are composed of four major tissues that
wear differentially, creating coarse surfaces for pulverizing tough
plants and liberating nutrients. Although such dentition evolved
repeatedly in mammals (such as horses, bison, and elephants), a
similar innovation occurred much earlier (~85 million years ago)
within the duck-billed dinosaur group Hadrosauridae, fueling their
35-million-year occupation of Laurasian megaherbivorous niches. How
this complexity was achieved is unknown, as reptilian teeth are
generally two-tissue structures presumably lacking biomechanical
attributes for grinding. Here we show that hadrosaurids broke from the
primitive reptilian archetype and evolved a six-tissue dental
composition that is among the most sophisticated known.
Three-dimensional wear models incorporating fossilized wear properties
reveal how these tissues interacted for grinding and ecological
News story version: