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[dinosaur] Neornithischian teeth from Upper Cretaceous Iharkút locality, Hungary

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Attila Virág & Attila Ősi (2017)
Morphometry, microstructure and wear pattern of neornithischian dinosaur teeth from the Upper Cretaceous Iharkút locality (Hungary).
The Anatomical Record (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1002/ar.23592  

Teeth of iguanodontian ornithopods and ceratopsians could be remarkably similar, thus the referral of isolated dental material to particular neornithischian clades can be highly problematic. These groups are represented by the rhabdodontid Mochlodon vorosi and the basal coronosaurian Ajkaceratops kozmai in the Upper Cretaceous Csehbánya Formation at Iharkút (western Hungary). Whereas teeth of Mochlodon are common elements at the locality, no dental material belonging to Ajkaceratops was identified until now. Here we used mathematical statistical approaches, as well as tooth wear and dental microstructure analysis in order to decide whether the teeth previously referred to Mochlodon can be treated as a homogenous sample, or some remains belong rather to Ajkaceratops.

According to our results, there was a striking morphological and structural convergence between the teeth of both taxa. However, the wear study revealed the existence of two different patterns within the sample. One is characterized by straight and parallel microstriations that suggest orthal movements during the jaw closure. This pattern was associated with Mochlodon. The other pattern appeared only on a few teeth, and it can be differentiated by its distinctive curved microstriations that indicate circumpalinal chewing. Because curved striations have never been described in ornithopods, but are found in several neoceratopsians, this pattern was associated here with Ajkaceratops. Here we present the first teeth that can provisionally be referred to the latter genus. We believe that the methodology discussed in this paper will facilitate distinguishing ceratopsian and ornithopod teeth in other localities as well.