Scientists have been studying Majungasaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur that lived in Madagascar about 70 million years ago, and researchers have found that the dinosaur’s teeth are changing two to 13 times faster than other carnivorous dinosaurs. Every few months, Majungasaurus forms new teeth in each groove. Scientists say the rapid replacement of teeth means dinosaurs are wearing their teeth quickly. They think the creature may have been biting the bone.
Scientists have found evidence of Majungasaurus teeth gnawing on the bones of other animals in the same period, which are Majungasaurus’ prey. Rapid tooth replacement is not unheard of in modern animals, and rodents are an example of how rodents still gnaw at bones today.
Quick tooth changes put Majungasaurus in the same camp as sharks and large herbivorous dinosaurs. A recent study of Majungasaurus also looked at two other predatory dinosaurs, including the heterodragon and the horned dragon. The team used a series of isolated fossil teeth to examine the microscopic growth lines.
The team found that these growth rings are not deposited once a year, but once a day. The team also performed A CT scan of the entire jaw to see unbroken teeth growing in the bones to estimate the rate of tooth replacement. Future studies will be able to use their research to estimate the rate of tooth replacement in dinosaurs without the need for destructive sampling of teeth, the team said.