If you look at a cross-section through a typical mammalian tooth root, it forms a doughnut in thin section. That’s because our roots are essentially long cylinders of hardened tooth tissues that surround a central pulp. But there are animals out there that don’t follow this rule. In fact many extinct and living fish, amphibians, … Continue reading Dental origami: the elegant shapes of “folded” dentine
“…we shall have to treat species in the same manner as those naturalists treat genera, who admit that genera are merely artificial combinations made for convenience.” Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species When I first read Origin of Species, I was struck by Charles Darwin’s prophetic view of what biology would look like in … Continue reading Identity Crisis: the Curious Case of Captorhinus
In my previous post, I summed up the decades-long fascination palaeontologists have had with mosasaur teeth. It seems like an odd subject, but this interest in mosasaur teeth and their attachment to the jaws turned centuries of assumptions about tooth evolution on their heads. The debate is about the spongy mass of tissue that forms … Continue reading Weighing in on the “mosasaur tooth debate”: doing science on ancient teeth
Mosasaurs have a special place in my heart. I worked on them for my Master’s degree, but I also re-visited them as a PhD student. This post explores how mosasaur teeth became some of the most thoroughly studied among any reptile, and how the findings from the debates surrounding them have inadvertently re-shaped our understanding … Continue reading Why are palaeontologists so interested in mosasaur teeth?
In the third and final entry about the Dinosaur Dentistry event held at the University of Alberta, I wanted to talk about what makes studying dinosaur teeth so interesting. I’ve pointed out previously how at a fundamental level dinosaur teeth and human teeth are built from the same building blocks. That’s because the teeth in … Continue reading Dinosaur Dentistry, Part 3: steak knives and dental batteries