The biggest dinosaur? Dreadnoughtus. The worst dinosaur? T-Rex. A Dinosaur with 500 teeth? Don’t know? Just as we thought. With all the biggest and worst dinosaurs taking the spotlight, it is natural that you wouldn’t know which dinosaur has 500 teeth.
But if this piqued your interest, then you are in the right place because this article is thoroughly dedicated to the a dinosaur with 500 teeth. Let’s get this straight. It is the Nigersaurus that has 500 teeth. Lexically speaking, Nigersaurus signifies “Niger’s Lizard” or “Niger reptile”. And it is also the oldest dinosaur ever found.
Nigersaurus is the oldest dinosaur that ever existed. The being was a 30-foot-long plant-eating dinosaur. Moreover, it is a genus of Diplodocus-like sauropod dinosaur. So which period did it exist in? The answer is the middle Cretaceous period. Hence, it is from 119 to 105 million years ago that nigersaurus existed.
The fossil of the dinosaurs was discovered in the rich fossil vertebrate fauna of the Elrhaz Formation. It was in Gadoufaoua. One can locate the place in the Republic of Niger. Although one curated the fossils of the dinosaurs in early 1976. However, it was in 1999 when those fossils got a name, thus, got an identity.
The archeologists found the whole remaining fossils to finally describe it as what we know as “dinosaurs”. This particular genus includes only one species. The genus is Nigersaurus taqueti. The team led by paleontologist Philippe Taquet found the remains of the nigersaurus. Hence, they named the dinosaurs after French paleontologist Philippe Taquet.
Now, Let Us Talk About The Nigersaurus Skull And More Importantly, The Teeth:
The skull of the Nigersaurus was specific for feeding. It had four large side fenestrae. Hence, the opening of the mouth was very wide. The skull had thin bones as well. That is why it became easy for the species to have 500 teeth. Although the teeth always replaced themselves every 14 days.
The researchers have found after thorough analysis that it had a keratinous sheath. In other words, it had a wide beak-like structure. This structure helps in accommodating the 500 pieces of teeth. Nigersaurus is the only dinosaur that has 500 teeth.
Moreover, it is the only tetrapod animal that has wider jaws than the size of the skull and teeth. The teeth in the upper side of the jaw are actually at least 20 to 30% bigger than the ones in the lower jaw. Under each active tooth, there were nine replacement teeth placed within the jaw in a column.
So, they had 68 columns in the upper jaws. Meanwhile, the lower had 60 columns of teeth. Hence, the total of 500 teeth in their jaw made them the dinosaur with 500 teeth. Although the study has found that the enamel of the teeth of the niger dinosaur was not linear. They were thicker on the outside. Moreover, the inner side was comparatively less thick.
Nigersaurus : A Dinosaur With 500 Teeth Facts:
- Nigersaurus was a herbivore despite having 500 teeth. Their teeth were made in a specific way that only supported grazing grass.
- Our favorite dinosaur with 500 teeth has a nickname as well. The nickname is “Mesozoic Cow”. Because they have a wide muzzle and shredding teeth, the anthropologists have recognized them like a lawnmower.
- Although you may have heard that they had long necks, it was the shortest among the long-necked dinosaurs. Their neck could not even reach 35 feet.
Lastly, A dinosaur with 500 teeth was fairly light-headed. In other words, they had thin cranial bones. Moreover, they were almost opaque.