Theropod Thursday 10

For once, not a complete animal or model of one. Rather, a few pictures of what makes theropods so odd: the teeth – and lack thereof!

Check this out:

That’s what a real theropod looks like! As Bob Bakker pointed out, this has a snake-ish quality to it.

More: a lateral view of the same cast, Tarbosaurus bataar in the Sauriermuseum Aathal, Switzerland.

and this is in fact one of the most common vertebrate fossils in many typical dinosaur localities:

two shed theropod teeth that I dug out from between a scapula and articulated ribs at the Sauriermuseum’s Howe-Stephens-Quarry dig in 2003.

And from there, theropods went all the way to this in “no time”:

Avimimus cast (Sauriermuseum Aathal).

Today, there are no toothed theropods at all, but some try to turn things back by having beaks with “teeth” and serrations. Still, it is odd that a group in which most members “lived off” their teeth for half the Mesozoic, and a significant proportion, including all large taxa, for the the rest of it, suddenly goes toothless. Being able to fly does weird things to your body……

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About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy working at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.
This entry was posted in Dinopics, Dinosauria, Theropoda. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Theropod Thursday 10

  1. Well that mandibular symphysis puts a real emphasis on the “snake-ish.” I recall some sources stating that in (at least some) theropods, the elongated shape of the mandibular fossae could have accommodated fore-aft movements. I’ve often wondered if these guys, in a somewhat snake-like manner, could’ve moved their mandibles independently to jaw-walk large food items down their gullet. In some ways, it certainly could compensate for the reduced forelimbs.

    Just curious; what critter’s scapula and ribs bore the embedded shed teeth?

    • sauropod – a fairly large one. Too damaged to tell for sure what it was, and the vertebrae were there, articulated, but in a sandstone bar so hard they had to be taken out in large blocks, thus we never saw them exposed.

  2. The silly thing about the Avimimus portentosus skull up there is that it’s not a cast of the actual specimen, PIN 3907/3, but a cast of a sculpt of it.

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