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Dinosaur teeth carried by flowing water (free pdf)



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A recent paper in open-access PeerJ:

Joseph E. Peterson, Jason J. Coenen & Christopher R. Noto (2014)
Fluvial transport potential of shed and root-bearing dinosaur teeth
from the late Jurassic Morrison Formation.
PeerJ 2:e347
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.347
https://peerj.com/articles/347/


Shed dinosaur teeth are commonly collected microvertebrate remains
that have been used for interpretations of dinosaur feeding behaviors,
paleoecology, and population studies. However, such interpretations
may be biased by taphonomic processes such as fluvial sorting
influenced by tooth shape: shed teeth, removed from the skull during
life, and teeth possessing roots, removed from the skull after death.
As such, teeth may behave differently in fluvial systems due to their
differences in shape. In order to determine the influence of fluvial
processes on the preservation and distribution of shed and
root-bearing dinosaur teeth, the hydrodynamic behaviors of
high-density urethane resin casts of shed and root-bearing Allosaurus
and Camarasaurus teeth were experimentally tested for relative
transport distances at increasing flow velocities in an artificial
fluviatile environment. Results show that tooth cast specimens
exhibited comparable patterns of transport at lower velocities, though
the shed Camarasaurus teeth transported considerably farther in medium
to higher flow velocities. Two-Way ANOVA tests indicate significant
differences in the mean transport distances of tooth casts oriented
perpendicular to flow (p < 0.05) with varying tooth morphologies and
flow velocities. The differences exhibited in the transportability of
shed and root-bearing teeth has important implications for taphonomic
reconstructions, as well as future studies on dinosaur population
dynamics, paleoecology, and feeding behaviors.