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Choristodere palatal teeth

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Ryoko Matsumoto and Susan E. Evans (2015)
Morphology and function of the palatal dentition in Choristodera.
Journal of Anatomy (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1111/joa.12414

Choristoderes are a group of extinct freshwater reptiles that were
distributed throughout Laurasia from the Middle Jurassic to the
Miocene. They are inferred to have had a lifestyle similar to that of
extant gavialid crocodiles, but they differed from crocodiles in
retaining an extensive palatal dentition. All choristoderes had teeth
on the vomers, palatines and pterygoids, and teeth are rarely present
on the parasphenoid. Palatal teeth are conical, as in the marginal
dentition, and form longitudinal and transverse rows. Detailed
examination of different genera shows that the orientation of the
palatal tooth crowns changes with their position on the palate,
supporting the view that they are involved in intra-oral food
transportation, presumably in combination with a fleshy tongue.
Moreover, observed variation in palatal tooth shape and the width of
palatal tooth batteries may provide additional clues about diet. The
European Simoedosaurus lemoinei has sharper palatal teeth than its
North American counterpart, S. dakotensis, suggesting a preference for
softer prey – a conclusion consistent with the more gracile teeth and
narrower snout.