The three-horned dinosaur Triceratops had more complex teeth than previously thought, according to new analysis of fossils.
In fact, their teeth were much more sophisticated than nearly any other reptile and similar in complexity to mammalian teeth.
The findings could help scientists better understand how these prehistoric animals adapted to exploit new diets and dominate among herbivorous dinosaurs.
The two authors of the study, Brandon Krick and Gregory Erickson, are experts in dinosaur teeth. They have previously demonstrated that the duck-billed hadrosaurids, the major group of herbivores that lived at the same time as Triceratops, also had more complex teeth than other reptiles.
The researchers used a test that simulated the wear process during chewing by sliding a diamond-tipped microprobe across the fossilised teeth. They combined that with modeling analyses of wear rate and found that Triceratops teeth self-wear just like mammalian teeth do.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.