Scientists Discover Dimetrodon Had Serrated Teeth

Posted on February 7, 2014


Researchers from the University of Toronto Mississauga have found that Dimetrodon had serrated teeth like steak knives. The researchers also discovered that the Dimetrodon was terrestrial vertebrate to develop cusps. Dimetrodon lived before the dinosaurs during the Permian period between 298 million and 272 million years ago. It was the first terrestrial vertebrate to develop serrated ziphodont teeth. The scientists say the ziphodont teeth, with serrated edges, would have enabled the four meter long Dimetrodon to eat prey much larger than itself.

Dimetrodon serrated teeth

The research was conducted by graduate student and lead author Kirstin Brink along with Professor Robert Reisz from the university's Department of Biology. They are pictured holding a Dimetrodon skull in the photo below.

Kirstin Brink and Professor Robert Reisz hold Dimetrodon skull

Brink says in a statement, "Technologies such as scanning electron microscope (SEM) and histology allowed us to examine these teeth in detail to reveal previously unknown patterns in the evolutionary history of Dimetrodon."

Professor Reisz says, "The steak knife configuration of these teeth and the architecture of the skull suggest Dimetrodon was able to grab and rip and dismember large prey. Teeth fossils have attracted a lot of attention in dinosaurs but much less is known about the animals that lived during this first chapter in terrestrial evolution."

The study on Dimetrodon's teeth was published in Nature Communications.

Images: Danielle Dufault

Photo: University of Toronto Mississauga