Chun, Li, Rieppel, Olivier, Long, Cheng and Fraser, Nicholas C (2016) The earliest herbivorous marine reptile and its remarkable jaw apparatus. Science Advances, 2 (5). ISSN 2375-2548

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Newly discovered fossils of the Middle Triassic reptile Atopodentatus unicus call for a radical reassessment of its feeding behavior. The skull displays a pronounced hammerhead shape that was hitherto unknown. The long, straight anterior edges of both upper and lower jaws were lined with batteries of chisel-shaped teeth, whereas the remaining parts of the jaw rami supported densely packed needle-shaped teeth forming a mesh. The evidence indicates a novel feeding mechanism wherein the chisel-shaped teeth were used to scrape algae off the substrate, and the plant matter that was loosened was filtered from the water column through the more posteriorly positioned tooth mesh. This is the oldest record of herbivory within marine reptiles.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: palaeontology, marine reptiles, Atopodentatus unicus, Middle Triassic
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Theme: Understanding the natural world
Department: Natural Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Mark Glancy
Date Deposited: 09 May 2016 13:31
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2017 16:07

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