Oldest land predators` Dimetrodon killed prey with `steak-knife` teeth
Researchers have found that Dimetrodon, a carnivore that walked on land between 298 million and 272 million years ago, was a meat lover and had the first known serrated "steak knife" teeth.
Washington: Researchers have found that Dimetrodon, a carnivore that walked on land between 298 million and 272 million years ago, was a meat lover and had the first known serrated "steak knife" teeth.
Lead author Kirstin Brink along with Professor Robert Reisz from University of Toronto Mississauga`s Department of Biology suggested that Dimetrodon was the first terrestrial vertebrate to develop serrated ziphodont teeth.
According to the study, ziphodont teeth, with their serrated edges, produced a more-efficient bite and would have allowed Dimetrodon to eat prey much larger than itself.
While most meat-eating dinosaurs possessed ziphodont teeth, fossil evidence suggested serrated teeth first evolved in Dimetrodon some 40 million years earlier than theropod dinosaurs.
According to Brink and Reisz`s research, Dimetrodon had a diversity of previously unknown tooth structures and were also the first terrestrial vertebrate to develop cusps - teeth with raised points on the crown, which are dominant in mammals.
The study also suggests ziphodont teeth were confined to later species of Dimetrodon, indicating a gradual change in feeding habits.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.