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[dinosaur] Lesothosaurus (Early Jurassic ornithischian) adult mandible: tooth replacement and omnivorous diet (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper in open access:

Lara Sciscio​, Fabien Knoll, Emese M. Bordy, Michiel O. de Kock & Ragna Redelstorff (2017)
Digital reconstruction of the mandible of an adult Lesothosaurus diagnosticus with insight into the tooth replacement process and diet. 
PeerJ 5:e3054
doi:  https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3054

Fragmentary caudal ends of the left and right mandible assigned to Lesothosaurus diagnosticus, an early ornithischian, was recently discovered in the continental red bed succession of the upper Elliot Formation (Lower Jurassic) at Likhoele Mountain (Mafeteng District) in Lesotho. Using micro-CT scanning, this mandible could be digitally reconstructed in 3D. The replacement teeth within the better preserved (left) dentary were visualised. The computed tomography dataset suggests asynchronous tooth replacement in an individual identified as an adult on the basis of bone histology. Clear evidence for systematic wear facets created by attrition is lacking. The two most heavily worn teeth are only apically truncated. Our observations of this specimen as well as others do not support the high level of dental wear expected from the semi-arid palaeoenvironment in which Lesothosaurus diagnosticus lived. Accordingly, a facultative omnivorous lifestyle, where seasonality determined the availability, quality, and abundance of food is suggested. This would have allowed for adaptability to episodes of increased environmental stress.