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EARLY EARTH
Duckbill dinosaurs called 'super-grazers'
by Staff Writers
New York (UPI) Oct 8, 2012


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Duckbill dinosaurs had plant-pulverizing teeth more advanced than even cows, horses and other well-known modern grazers, U.S. paleontologists say.

In the first study to ever recover material properties from fossilized teeth, scientists examined the jaws of duckbill dinosaurs, also known as hadrosaurids, which were the dominant plant-eaters in the Late Cretaceous about 85 million years ago, the American Museum of Natural History reported.

They discovered hadrosaurids actually had six types of dental tissues -- four more than reptiles and two more than modern expert mammal grinders such as horses, cows and elephants.

"We were stunned to find that the mechanical properties of the teeth were preserved after 70 million years of fossilization," said lead author Gregory Erickson, a biology professor at Florida State University, who described hadrosaurids as "walking pulp mills."

Their broad jaws bearing as many as 1,400 teeth suggest hadrosaurids evolved the most advanced grinding capacity known in vertebrate animals, the researchers said.

"Their complex dentition could have played a major role in keeping them on the planet for nearly 35 million years," American Museum of Natural History paleontologist Mark Norell said.

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EARLY EARTH
Images of 300 million old insects revealed
Manchester UK (SPX) Sep 27, 2012
Writing in the journal PLoS One, the scientists have used a high resolution form of CT scanning to reconstruct two 305-million year old juvenile insects. Without the pioneering approach to imaging, these tiny insects - which are three-dimensional holes in a rock - would have been impossible to study. By placing the fossils in a CT scanner, and taking over 3,000 X-rays from different angles ... read more


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