According to new research, paleontologists discovered that the teeth of sauropod dinosaurs (the largest animal to have ever walked the Earth), were replaced in a way very different to other herbivores.

The’simple’ teeth of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s Dinosaur Institute were quickly replaced by researchers. More complex teeth had to be replaced more slowly. 

Sauropods were far simpler than modern herbivores and carnivores. 

While herbivores have often complex teeth and can crush fibrous leaves, sauropods are able to consume a wide variety of plants. 

Paleontologists discovered that sauropod dinosaurs replaced their teeth drastically different from other herbivores

Paleontologists found that sauropod dinosaurs had replaced their teeth in a way very different to other herbivores.

Experts believe that Dinosaurs, which means “terrible Lizard” in Greek, had fast replacement rates and simple teeth. This may have enabled them to consume different foods than other sauropods. 

Brachiosaurus (a macronarian sauropod group) had much more complicated teeth.

The majority of all animals know that complex teeth can be replaced more quickly than simple ones.  

They were completely different from all other known herbivores, and quickly switched to ‘peglike” teeth. 

They replaced 'simple teeth' quickly, while complex teeth were replaced slowly. The 'peglike' teeth were rapidly switched out, completely unique to all known known herbivores

The’simple teeth” were quickly replaced by the ‘complex teeth’, while more complex teeth were gradually replaced. They quickly switched between’simple’ and ‘peglike’ tooth, a unique feature among all herbivores.

Dinosaurs like Apatosaurus and Diplodocus had 'incredibly fast replacement rates and simple teeth,' which experts believe may have allowed them to eat different food from other sauropods

Apatosaurus’ and Diplodocus’ Dinosaurs had simple teeth and fast replacements, which experts think may have helped them eat different foods from other sauropods.

Simple teeth could have been easier for dinosaurs with long necks. They weigh less, can make skulls lighter and put less strain on the necks.

 ‘In nearly every other animal we look at, the complexity of a tooth relates to the animal’s diet,’ said the study’s lead author, Dr Keegan Melstrom, in a statement.

While ‘carnivores may have straight teeth, herbivores often have more complex teeth. Herbivores are known for having ridges and crests that can be used to process plant material. 

“But sauropods are able to break this pattern. This is because these dinosaurs are able to link complexity with tooth replacement rates, so simple teeth can be replaced only every few weeks.

Unlike carnivores or ornithischians (pictured), which had complex teeth similar to modern-day herbivores, sauropods had extremely simple teeth

Contrary to carnivores and ornithischians, which have complex teeth that are similar to herbivores of today (pictured), sauropods were able maintain simple teeth.

Researchers used CT scanning and microCT to scan existing dinosaur teeth, and then created 3D models for their results.   

They did this by breaking down the dinosaur teeth into the numbers and complexity of the three types: sauropods and herbivores ornithischians, meat-eating andropods. 

It would allow sauropods to eat plants that are not available to other herbivores, dead or alive, by having a unique tooth replacement pattern.

‘Time and time again, the fossil record shows us that there isn’t one solution to evolutionary problems,’ Dr Melstrom added. 

By having a tooth replacement pattern unlike any known herbivore, alive or dead, it would let sauropods eat plant food that other herbivores and and non-dinosaur plant-eaters skipped

This tooth-replacement pattern is unlike anything else in the herbivore family, and would enable sauropods access plant food not available to other herbivores or non-dinosaur plants-eaters.

‘When it came to tough plants eating, sauropods preferred the simple solution. The teeth of an animal can reveal a lot about their life and diet. 

T. rex’s simple and large-sized banana teeth, has been widely studied.

They have revealed they could deliver bone-puncturing bites from the age of 13 on, even before their adult teeth came in. 

In August, a study also revealed that the “king of dinosaurs” had nerve sensors at the tip of its jaws. These could identify the various parts of prey and make different choices depending on what the circumstances.  

Dr Melstrom explained that the diet of extinct dinosaurs varied greatly, from small meat-eaters and large plant-eaters. 

“Our research sheds light upon the variety of adaptations that allow so many plant-eaters live side by side.”  

Recent publication of the research in BMC Ecology and Evolution. 


Nearly 66,000,000 years ago, non-avian dinosaurs were extincted and nearly half of all species disappeared.

The mass extinction of mammalian species opened the door to the appearance of human beings and their rise.

The Chicxulub asteroid is often cited as a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

It crashed into what was now the Gulf of Mexico.

A huge cloud of soot and dust was released by the collision, which caused global climate change and decimated 75% of all plant and animal species.

Research suggests that global disasters like this one could not have been caused by a direct hit to Mexico’s rocks located in shallow waters. These rocks are rich in hydrocarbons.

Experts think that within 10 hours after the shock, the Gulf Coast was hit by a huge tsunami.

Around 66 million years ago non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out and more than half the world's species were obliterated. The Chicxulub asteroid is often cited as a potential cause of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event (stock image)

Non-avian dinosaurs died out around 66 million years ago, and nearly half of the species on Earth were extinct. Chicxulub is frequently cited (stock image).

These events caused earthquakes, landslides and destruction in regions as far away as Argentina. 

Researchers discovered small pieces of rock and other debris from the crash site.

These tiny particles are called spherules and covered the entire planet in a thick layer soot.

Experts believe that the loss of sunlight caused the complete collapse of the aquatic system.

Because the phytoplankton basis of nearly all aquatic food chains was eliminated, this is why.

According to some estimates, the 180 million-years of evolution that led to Cretaceous points in the history of the earth were destroyed in less time than the life span of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. This Tyrannosaurus is approximately 20-30 years.