What dinosaur has 500 teeth? - The sporting ferret (2023)

nigersaurus file

What dinosaur has 500 teeth?

onigersaurio(pronounced 'nee-zhayr-sore-rus), which translates to "Nigerian lizard" or "Nigerian reptile", was a dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous Period, approximately 121-99 million years ago.

This unique dinosaur was known to have over 500 teeth, eating a purely herbivorous diet. The herbivore Nigersaurus was a genus of sauropods, very large herbivores that mostly walked on all fours. Other notable sauropods include Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus.

This sauropod was 15 meters (30 feet) long and weighed between 4 and 5 tons, compared to an African elephant weighing around 4 tons.

The dinosaur's origins are believed to be from what is now north-central Africa, with numerous postcranial bones found in Niger, Algeria, and Tunisia. In particular, remains have been discovered in the Elrhaz Formation, an area in central Niger called Gadoufaoua.

Nigersaurus fossils were first recognized in 1976, but were named in 1999 after more extensive and complete discoveries of their remains. The genus is said to contain only one species,nigersaurus taqueti, named after French paleontologist Philippe Taquet, who was the first to discover sauropod remains.

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Distinctive features

Nigersaurus was called the "Mesozoic cow" by paleontologist Paul Sereno. Sereno was quoted in particular about this unusual sauropod, describing it as "the strangest dinosaur I've ever seen."

nigersaur teeth

One of the main features of Nigersaurus was its more than 500 teeth. This unorthodox herbivore is believed to have grazed for food in what is now the Sahara. It took food with its large, wide mouth; with the muzzle wider than the nape. Paleontologist Paul Sereno was also quoted as comparing the face of Nigersaurus to that of a vacuum cleaner.

Sereno's vacuum cleaner comparison turned out to be a correct observation, with reconstructed skeletons showing the mouth to show a close resemblance to the tip of the device.

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The broad snout turned out to be a specialized tool for feeding with four large side window openings in the skull along with the bones of the things. Its broad snout contained more than 500 teeth that were said to be replaced every 14 days.

The structure of the Nigersaurus jaw, teeth, and mouth was unorthodox at best. In terms of jaw structure, it remains the only known tetrapod animal whose jaws are wider than the skull. Also, it is the only tetrapod to examine the teeth that extend laterally to the front of the mouth.

This unorthodox animal had a very particular tooth structure, particularly within a sauropod dinosaur. Batteries of teeth, something never before seen in a sauropod family, were thought to be another unique feature of Nigersaurus. Batteries of teeth were common in beaked herbivores such as Triceratops, but remained extremely rare in sauropods.

Tooth batteries were known to be highly efficient processing tools for those who ate herbivores. They are said to consist of vertically stacked columns of interchangeable teeth. Whenever a tooth on one of the pillars wore down, it was replaced by the one behind it, replacing the old tooth. The columns of teeth would also be neatly grouped next to each other, like peas in a pod. Thus, dinosaurs harboring batteries of teeth could easily have hundreds of teeth, old or new, in their mouths at a time.

As for Nigersaurus, the upper jaw contained around 60 columns of small, needle-like teeth. While the lower jaw contained approximately 68 columns. Taking into account the complete set of pillars, Nigersaurus boasted of more than500 individual teeth, resulting in 9 sets of replacement teeth completed in the jaw.

The uniqueness of Nigersaurus teeth also depends on their orientation. The teeth that extend laterally from the front of the mouth would not have been very effective in chewing on the leaves that hung between the trees. Therefore, evidence suggests that Nigersaurus feeds and grazes close to the ground. Hence the nickname "Mesozoic cow". The broad muzzle would prove to be the perfect partner in foraging for food among the lower plants. With plenty of teeth, the dinosaur would have no problem cutting its way through vegetation. Batteries of teeth would have proved vital to Nigersaurus when grazing downstairs, each new tooth would have been replaced every 14 days.

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nigersaur size

Nigersaurus belonged to the sauropod family: these dinosaurs were among the largest to ever walk the earth. Compared to other sauropods like Brachiosaurus or Diplodocus, Nigersaurus was much smaller in comparison. For comparison, Nigersaurus was estimated to be around 30 feet long, while the average Diplodocus was around 85 feet. These little giants are said to weigh as much as a modern African elephant (around 4 to 5 tons), while a Diplodocus weighed around 25 tons on average. Therefore, in general, we can consider Nigersaurus as a small giant. In addition to its lighter build, Nigersaurus also possessed a shorter neck compared to its known counterparts.

What dinosaur has 500 teeth? - The sporting ferret (2)

Reconstructed face and skull of Nigersaurus

Nigersaurus Facts: Our Top Five Tips

1. Nigersaurus is described as a short-necked, "long-necked" dinosaur.

The main feature of the sauropod family is definitely its long neck. Some sauropod necks reached 15 meters in length,which is six times longer than the neck of the longest giraffe in the world. However, the same is not true of Nigersaurus and its closest relatives (which formed a subgroup called "Rebbachisauridae"). The necks of almost all Rebbachisaurs were about 10 meters or less long.

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2. The 'Niger lizard'

Nigersaurus means "Nigerian lizard" or "Nigerian reptile". Mainly because his remains were discovered in what is now the Republic of Niger.

3. The discovery of baby Nigersaurus

During an expedition, paleontologist Paul Sereno discovered fossils of a baby Nigersaurus in Niger. Although they were full-fledged adults, measuring 30 feet in length, the upper jaw of the discovered baby Nigersaurus was nicknamed "match a silver dollar.“

4. Just plants

Nigersaurus belongs to the sauropod family. Sauropods were all members of the Sauropoda subgroup of dinosaurs. Their main differences were their size, long neck and tail, four-legged posture, and herbivorous diet.

5. The attitude debate

Scientists have speculated whether Nigersaurus used to droop or raise its head. Initially, some scientists speculated that these complex creatures would hold their skulls constantly down at a 67-degree angle to ensure food gathering was facilitated. However, more recently, scientists have disputed this claim, pointing out that dinosaur vertebrae allowed for a much greater range of motion. This would mean that Nigersaurus would have acted more in unison with other sauropods and raised its head.

Which dinosaur has more teeth?

Despite Nigersaurus' impressive number of teeth, it falls short of the all-time leader in most teeth.Hadrosaurosthey will brag as much as1400 teeth. Their teeth were considered to be by far the most complex of any living animal.

There you have it, which dinosaur has 500 teeth? The Nigersaur. It may not boast every dinosaur, but this weird and wonderful sauropod is sure to get people talking. What do you expect with all those teeth at your disposal.

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We hope you enjoyed the article Which Dinosaur Has 500 Teeth? What is your favorite Nigersaurus fact? Let us know!

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