Sauropods, giant dinosaurs that could weigh more than a modern airliner, could have been subject to error by paleontologists. Scientists have always believed that this dinosaur’s lips are similar to those of lizards, but the new research puts a new opportunity on the table.
According to Kaylie Wiershma, a paleontologist at the University of Bonn, Germany, these dinosaurs may have had beaks similar to beaks of turtles or birds full of long teeth. With this particular mouth and relative tooth structure, they were able to collect and swallow a huge amount of vegetation, which led them to an evolutionary level to achieve record sizes.
Wiershma, who led the study together with his colleague Martin Sander, analyzed seven sets of teeth extracted from some species of germplasm, including the European dwarf germplasm Europasaurus and Camarasaurus. After analysis, the researchers concluded that the beaks were similar to the beaks of most of these species, as they noticed only 50% surface wear, down to the jaw.
This indicates, according to the researchers, that the teeth themselves were enclosed in a beak-like structure of keratin, a substance that is also at the base of the beaks of birds. The reconstruction, which was done by scientists and researchers, would in fact always have left the rows of teeth attached to the skull incomprehensible, according to the study’s authors.
On the other hand, the presence of a beak would help to keep the teeth stable, protect them and ensure stability. These huge dinosaurs could not have had such unprotected teeth without protection, as Steve Salisbury, a paleontologist at the University of Queensland on the Science website, makes clear.
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