Digging up dental anatomy of ancient reptiles
Palaeontologists recently discovered that a reptile from 95 million years ago developed a strong, wear-resistant tooth enamel (common in humans but rare among reptiles) as its diet changed from meat to plants. The EU-funded ENEVOLVE project will study the prismless enamel that caps the teeth of all non-mammalian vertebrates. It will focus on living and extinct reptiles. Studies show this prismless enamel evolved to cope with the forces of grasping and cutting through prey, crushing hard shells and grinding plant material, and it has persisted for over 300 million years. The project will shed light on the framework for describing the structural and chemical variation within prismless enamel associated with different tooth functions and for teasing apart the key alterations resulting from fossilisation.
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