New Dinosaur Species With 400 Tiny Teeth Found In Germany

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The remains of a new species of dinosaur with 400 teeth closely packed in its jaw were unintentionally discovered recently by researchers in Germany. The pterosaur-family creature used its long jaws in a manner similar to how ducks and flamingos do today to eat, according to a report in Phys.Org. It was discovered by paleontologists from England, Germany and Mexico.The study has been published in Palaontologische Zeitschrift (PalZ) and is titled, “A new pterodactyloid pterosaur with a unique filter-feeding apparatus from the Late Jurassic of Germany.” It mentions that the discovery happened by chance while scientists were excavating a large block of limestone that contained crocodile bones.Professor David Martill, lead author of the research, from the University of Portsmouth’s School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, told the website, “The nearly complete skeleton was found in a very finely layered limestone that preserves fossils beautifully. The jaws of this pterosaur are really long and lined with small fine, hooked teeth, with tiny spaces between them like a nit comb. The long jaw is curved upwards like an avocet and at the end it flares out like a spoonbill. There are no teeth at the end of its mouth, but there are teeth all the way along both jaws right to the back of its smile.”He noted that the teeth also have a hook at the end, which might have been used to catch tiny shrimp, which the creature fed on. This would help that the shrimp would go down its throat and not get squeezed between the teeth.It is further mentioned that the fossil belongs to the Ctenochasmatidae family of pterosaurs, which are known from the limestone in Bavaria, Germany, where this one was also discovered. The creature has been named ‘Balaenognathus maeuseri’. Noticing its feeding style, the generic name roughly translates to “whale mouth.”The new pterosaur’s teeth suggest an extraordinary feeding mechanism as it swept through water. It would funnel water with its spoon-shaped beak and then squeeze out excess liquid with its teeth, trapping prey in its mouth, according to Phys.Org.Professor Martill continued, “This was a rather serendipitous find of a well-preserved skeleton with near perfect articulation, which suggests the carcass must have been at a very early stage of decay with all joints, including their ligaments, still viable. It must have been buried in sediment almost as soon as it had died.”