Developmental and evolutionary novelty in the serrated teeth of theropod dinosaurs

a serrated tooth from a theropod dinosaur
Monday, August 10, 2015 - 9:17am

What is in a bite? For theropod dinosaurs the answer may be the secret to their success, according to recent research by recent PhD graduate Dr. Kirstin Brink and PhD candidate Aaron LeBlanc (Reisz and Evans Labs). With dino fanfare and an abundance of media coverage they just published “Developmental and evolutionary novelty in the serrated teeth of theropod dinosaurs” in Scientific Reports. By examining the internal structure of serrated teeth from several distantly related animals, they show that theropods have a completely unique arrangement of dental tissues within their teeth not seen in other animals. These structures develop to lengthen the serration from within the tooth, and strengthen the tooth, preventing the serrations from wearing away quickly while eating. These features likely contributed to the success of theropods as the top predators of their ecosystems throughout the Mesozoic.

Congratulations, Kirstin and Aaron, on this exciting discovery!