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The earliest herbivorous marine reptile and its remarkable jaw apparatus
Chun, L.; Rieppel, O.; Long, C.; Fraser, N.C. (2016). The earliest herbivorous marine reptile and its remarkable jaw apparatus. Science Advances 2(5): e1501659.
In: Science Advances. AAAS: New York. ISSN 2375-2548, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Atopodentatus unicus; Reptilia [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Marine reptiles; Atopodentatus unicus; Middle Triassic

Authors  Top 
  • Chun, L.
  • Rieppel, O.
  • Long, C.
  • Fraser, N.C.

    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.

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