Horned Dinosaurs Had Better Teeth than Mammals
Triceratops and its buddies carried around fine sets of self-sharpening steak knives (to eat plants).
Imagine finding dinosaur teeth so well preserved you could put them in a cow and they would work. That’s what biology prof Gregory Erickson (photo) says about teeth of Triceratops examined by a team of paleontologists and engineers at Florida State. They could see five distinct layers in the teeth, compared to mammals’ four and crocodiles’ two. “Each of those tissues does something,” Erickson says. “They’re not just there for looks.”
Moreover, Science Daily says, the dino teeth are self-sharpening. This is a stunning case of “paleo-engineering” the headline announces; in fact, Brandon Krick, a professor of engineering from Lehigh University and an expert in tribology (the study of surfaces in motion), found that these self-sharpening teeth are so good, he’s getting ideas for “new engineering techniques that can be used for industrial and commercial applications.”
A sophisticated three-dimensional model was developed to show how each tissue wore with use in a strategic manner to create a complex surface with a fuller (a recessed area in the middle, much like those seen in fighting knives and swords) on each tooth. This served to reduce friction during biting and promote efficient feeding….
“Paleontologists challenged us with an interesting engineering problem, and now, we have a wear model that can be used to design material systems with optimized wear properties and surface features for many applications,” Krick said.
A short video on Live Science features Erickson calling this a “remarkably complex tooth” – with emphasis on the adjective. “It rivals modern mammal teeth such as horse teeth in sophistication,” he says. “The material properties of these 70-million-year-old teeth are still preserved. You essentially could take these teeth and put it in an animal today; they would self-wear back to their functional morphology and function today.” Mammals used to be thought to have the most complex teeth that ever evolved, but Erickson says that Triceratops teeth are even more complex; they are “far more intricate than any reptile or mammal living today.” They provided “very efficient feeding” on the bulky plant material that comprised their diet.
Speaking of horned dinosaurs, a new species with an ornate frill was announced in Current Biology by paleontologists in Alberta. Nature calls it “bizarre” because of its “strange halo of bony spikes.” An artist’s representation is shown at PhysOrg and Live Science. Though its genus name Regaliceratops refers to its royal-looking crowned frill (with a hat tip also to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada), some of the fossil hunters are calling it “Hellboy” over its fearsome appearance.
The scientists are invoking convergent evolution again. Caleb Brown from the museum calls this “bizarre” dinosaur “the first to show evolutionary convergence in horn-like structures between different horned-dinosaur subfamilies.” To the discoverers, convergence is just a fact of life everywhere in the fossil record:
Most surprisingly, Regaliceratops exhibits a suite of cranial ornamentations that are superficially similar to Campanian centrosaurines, indicating both exploration of novel display morphospace in Chasmosaurinae, especially Maastrichtian forms, and convergent evolution in horn morphology with the recently extinct Centrosaurinae. This marks the first time that evolutionary convergence in horn-like display structures has been demonstrated between dinosaur clades, similar to those seen in fossil and extant mammals.
All the reporters bought the convergence line without criticism. Laura Geggel at Live Science, for instance, dutifully reported that it’s “the first example of a horned dinosaur showing evolutionary convergence, meaning that these two groups developed similar features independently of each other.”
Let’s get this straight. Blind forces of evolution hit upon complex self-sharpening teeth that engineers would like to imitate. And these teeth are 70 million years old but still work today. This is known as cognitive dissonance, an affliction of evolutionists who refuse to abandon a falsified worldview even when it bites them in the behind.