A species of dinosaur from southern France with unusual teeth is described in Scientific Reports this week.
Pascal Godefroit and colleagues describe a new species of rhabdodontid dinosaur - a group of herbivorous bipedal dinosaurs - from the late Campanian period (approximately 84 - 72 million years ago). Fossils of the new species, Matheronodon provincialis, discovered in Velaux-La Bastide Neuve, show that this dinosaur had large teeth, with a chisel-like cutting edge, measuring around 6cm in height. In examining the microstructure of the teeth, the authors found that the ridges along the thicker, enamelled side of the crown formed a self-sharpening serrated and jagged slicing edge. The authors suggest that the dentition and masticatory apparatus of rhabdodontids were adapted for producing a strict and powerful shearing action, resembling a pair of scissors.
From a biomechnical point of view, the authors argue that the enlarged blade-like teeth, as seen in the new dinosaur, were best adapted for fracturing tough foodstuffs. They suggest that rhabdodontids were adapted to preferentially feed on tough plant parts rich in sclerenchyma fibres - a plant tissue providing mechanical stiffness and strength - such as Sabalites andPandanites.
References: Extreme tooth enlargement in a new Late Cretaceous rhabdodontid dinosaur from Southern France. Pascal Godefroit, Géraldine Garcia, Bernard Gomez, Koen Stein, Aude Cincotta, Ulysse Lefèvre & Xavier Valentin
Pascal Godefroit (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium)
Extreme tooth enlargement in a new Late Cretaceous rhabdodontid dinosaur from Southern France (publication in )