Duckbills enjoyed the use of healthy dental machinery

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The myth of mushy foods for duckbills began with a single error by one of the great pioneering American dinosaur hunters. Edward Drinker Cope discovered a fragmentary duckbill jaw in 1885. (Dinosaur manufacturers)His specimen had cracks running through the row of teeth, so that individual teeth fell out of the fossil jaw when he examined it. Cope mistakenly assumed this condition was natural and jumped to the conclusion that a duckbill's teeth would break off whenever the beast tried to chew tough food. This error should have been corrected by 1895, when complete skulls and jaws revealed that duckbill teeth were firmly packed together and no one tooth could possibly fall out before it was totally worn down. Even then, whenever a worn tooth dropped out, a new tooth already stood beneath it ready to take over chewing duties. (Dinosaur factory)Duckbills apparently never ran out of teeth. No one has ever discovered a senile duckbill mouth; not one specimen exists with all its teeth either worn out or fallen out. To all appearances, from the day they hatched out of the egg to their last breath, the duckbills enjoyed the use of healthy dental machinery, continually renewed by young teeth growing in to replace the old.

 

Not only were the duckbills' teeth never-ending, their arrangement was designed especially for powerful grinding.(life size dinosaur for sale) At any one moment many rows of young teeth were growing into the mouth, providing the animal with grinding surfaces made up of hundreds of closely packed teeth. Each tooth was built up from two different biological materials: a thick layer of very hard enamel and a central core of softer dentine. Since many rows of teeth were packed together in each jaw, and all the rows together participated in chewing action, the chewing surface was a mosaic of enamel ridges and dentine. Enamel ridges always protruded a little higher than the dentine cores, because the enameled parts of the teeth got worn down a bit more slowly than the softer cores. This arrangement was very effective. No matter how hard the duckbill chewed or how hard its food was, the enamel stuck up further than the dentine, young teeth kept replacing the old, and the duckbill maintained a grinding surface that worked much like a self-sharpening vegetable grater.

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