June 18th, 2021

This weeks #FossilFriday features “ROM 696”, a piece of the upper jaw (the maxilla) of a hadrosaurid dinosaur from the Cretaceous period of Alberta, housed in the fossil collections at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Hadrosaurids were also known as the duck-billed dinosaurs, because of the duck-like bills at the front of their mouths. While the bills cropped vegetation, it was the complicated batteries of teeth behind the bill that did the hard work of grinding plants into small enough pieces for digestion.


In order to better understand how the dental batteries worked, in the 1950’s a palaeontologist by the name of Gordon Edmund, carefully cut out this piece of the upper jaw and prepped away the side wall to expose the developing teeth inside.


He made illustrations of the internal anatomy of this fossil in a scientific paper, showing how new teeth were added deep inside the battery.

Nearly sixty years later, Dr. Aaron LeBlanc made microscope sections from this same fossil in order to better understand how all of the tooth tissues inside the hadrosaur battery formed and connected each tooth together.


Working with talented palaeoartist Danielle Dufault, they took Gordon Edmund’s work a step further and showed how all of the different parts of the dental battery worked together to make one of the most sophisticated reptile dentitions that ever existed.


Don’t miss Dr. LeBlanc’s presentation streaming live through our YouTube channel tomorrow at noon!

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