Built to chew - news story - 08 Oct 2012

Beneath the enamel

I recently visited a school to talk to some 6 year-olds about fossils, and dinosaurs in particular. The had a lot of questions, so I didn't spend as much time on dinosaurs as perhaps I might have, but in the big box of fossils i took with me were quite a few teeth.

I like teeth, and collect them. I don't know why. But they are very useful to illustrate a point in situations like these. You can tell a fair amount from an animal's teeth, even if that animal died millions of years ago and left them behind in the rocks. For the kids, looking at the shape, size and structure of a few different teeth helped them understand that we can have a reasonable guess at an animal's diet, and perhaps how they fed. A new analysis of hadrosaurid teeth has shwon them to be more complicated than those of modern browsing animals, which may have helped them broaden their diet. See more by clicking here