The question “what dinosaur has 500 teeth?” has been bothering paleontologists (people who study paleontology) since the famous dinosaur named Sauropodomorphus was discovered in the late nineteen thirties. Since that time, scientists have been trying to determine how this incredibly popular meat eater compared to its counterparts such as the Velociraptors and Stegosaurus
The dinosaur with 500 teeth meme went viral, when one user asked what exactly the dinosaur with 500 mouthfuls looked like. Many users immediately took the tweet literally and thought it was an actual photo of an old person. Some even commented that they wanted to go and meet them. Well, it turns out that this dinosaur is not a real dinosaur at all. It is a new species of dinosaur called mosasaurs. And they are rather weird looking!
Dinosaur bones from the Cretaceous geological period (the same period as T. rex), which is about 65 million years ago, contain collagen with protein. And these proteins play important roles in the formation of the modern skeletal system of the animals. Mosasaurs have a very unique set of teeth. It is unlike any other dinosaur species. They had two rows of relatively straight teeth instead of the more typical spiral ridges and had three rows of relatively long, spiraled teeth. They also have jagged ridges on their vertebrae.
This dinosaur was named Sinosauropteryx after the German naturalist who found it in the early 1800’s. But the name is probably misleading. Sinosauropteryx is actually a synonym for Sinosaurotrimurium, which is the exact name of another dinosaur that lived during the same time. And this means that the specimen should also be labeled as Sinosauropteryx intermedius instead. This specimen of this dinosaur has been found only once and is thus very rare.
This specimen belongs to the genre known as basal vertebrates (basal cousins). The name of this dinosaur is based on the shape of its skull: the crest of the skull is very short in comparison to the rest of its head, making it look more like a reptile’s jawbone. It also has what are called bony projections along its outer frill edges, these being especially notable on the back of its head and in the area between its lower teeth. All of these frills are bone flaps.
The reason why the dinosaur’s teeth are so uniquely shaped is that they must have been worn down incredibly. Because dinosaurs evolved at the same time as early saursians (the distant relatives of modern birds and dinosaurs), their diets must have included a lot of plant material. This would have made their teeth highly worn, since the plant material would have constantly rubbed against them. At the same time, since dinosaurs generally have very thick jaws (they have proportionately large and weak jaws compared to humans), eating tough plant material would have caused the wear on their teeth to become even more severe.
Because of all this wear, the dinosaurian skeleton of the most famous saurians, such as the most famous of all time, the saurischian (the dinosaur that is most likely to be found in museums) is very well preserved, with detailed bones showing off the true colors of their skin and even their internal organs. The same thing applies for the most famous of all dinosaurs – the Sauropodomorph dinosaur. The most complete saurischian skeleton known belongs to this dinosaur, which has an amazing array of teeth leftover from a massive, toothless jaw that once covered its mouth. Other examples of dinosaur skeletons can be found in museums all over the world. However, it has been argued among palaeontologists that these bones belong to a different species entirely.
The other type of dinosaur, the iguanodon, also appeared in the first week of the year. Although its exact appearance is still up for debate, it is thought to be a dinosauromorph. In fact, even though the exact shape is up for grabs, most palaeontologists agree that it looks more like a pterodactyl than an iguanodon. This is because an iguanodon had a very long neck and short tail, while a dinosauromorphs’ tail was very long, tapering into a long sleek tail.
What does this mean for our question? Well, if we want to figure out what kind of dinosaur we’re looking at, we have to look at the teeth. The longer the neck and the shorter the tail, the slimmer the teeth are likely to be. An animal with long and slender teeth is going to have a difficult time chewing on tough meat, so they would need to have many small teeth in each bite, and lots of tooth crowns – single row, double row, multiple row, rows of teeth all the way down the lower jaw.