New in teeth news: A scientist in Canada has just discovered that the Hadrosaur–a duck-billed dinosaur from the Cretaceous period–had over six hundred teeth in its mouth. No news on how high its dental bills were.
This is an incredibly remarkable and advanced dental structure. Professor Robert Reisz, one of the scientists who discovered the dental structure of the Hadrosaur through careful microscopic examination, described the Hadrosaur’s dental structure as “very elegant… more like chainmail, providing flexibility as well as strength.”
According to their research, Reisz and the PhD candidate responsible for the research, Aaron LeBlanc, discovered that the 600 teeth were suspended in place by an elaborate system of ligaments. “[They are] similar to what we have because our teeth are not solidly attached to our jaws,” said Reisz. However, there are a number of noteable differences– for one, the human mouth only has, at most, 32 teeth, compared to the Hadrosaur’s mouth, which contained almost twenty times that. Likewise, although both mouth structures contain teeth that are suspended in place by ligaments–rather than being fused to our bones–human teeth are still composed of ‘living’ tissue, filled with blood vessels and nerves. The teeth of the Hadrosaur weren’t living, according to LeBlanc and Reisz; instead, they were designed to progressively grind down and be replaced.
It’s interesting to see how many similarities and differences exist between our dental structure and that of the Hadrosaur. To give a little context, the human mouth has 20 “baby” teeth (that is, teeth that get replaced but stay in approximately the same place) and 32 permanent (or “adult”) teeth. Our teeth are built for a multitude of different functions, from our incisors–responsible for chopping off bites of food such as carrots or apples–to our molars, which are responsible for grinding food into digestible bits. On the other hand, the Hadrosaur–though it had 600 teeth–had a mouth that was designed to “break down tough plant material for digestion [through both shearing and grinding.]” The Hadrosaur’s teeth were suited pretty exclusively for this purpose, with hard-tissue teeth designed to wear down over time and be replaced.
Our teeth, though they’re well-designed and hardy, need a lot more love than that. Unfortunately, there aren’t many situations in which your dentist will tell you that your teeth need to ‘wear down over time so they can be replaced’– our teeth are our teeth, and we only get 32 of them. Luckily, since we only have those 32, we don’t have to deal with the dentist bills (or the duck bills) that the Hadrosaur had to!
If you have any more questions about dental anatomy, contact our Austin Dental Office today!