What Dinosaur Has 500 Teeth? | Facts You Didn’t Know You Needed

Billions of years ago, there existed a dinosaur with a long neck and an unusual skull consisting of around 500 teeth. Read on to know more about this.

    “What Dinosaur Has 500 Teeth?” | A Genuine Fact or A Racist Meme?

    Who knew I would be writing about dinosaurs, and you will be reading about the same? But, here we are. 

    What dinosaur has 500 teeth

    Dinosaurs are something everyone on this earth knows about. We know the earth was once full of them. There are pictures of dinosaurs that show they were of different shapes, sizes and colours. But, did you know about the dinosaur, which had 500 teeth? Yes, 15 times more teeth than an adult. Nigersaurus, a 30 foot long herbivores dinosaur, had a long neck and a skull of 500 teeth. Let’s dive into details about this one in the succeeding sections of the article. 

    What exactly is a Nigersaurus?

    Nigersaurus is a 110 million years old dinosaur that used to live in the Sahara Desert of Niger. The animal loved to live in a lush environment along with the predatory dinosaur Suchomimus, Supercroc, Lurdusaurus, etc. Nigersaurus consisted of a delicate skull along with quite a wide mouth that was lined with teeth. The teeth helped them browse plants in close proximity to the ground. 

    It is easy to recognize a Nigersaurus in pictures. It had not only a long neck but also an unusually straight-edged muzzle which was tipped with at least 500 replaceable teeth. The most interesting fact about this animal is that the fossil skull of Nigersaurus was one of the first dinosaur skulls that was reconstructed digitally through CT scans. 

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    Some more facts:

    • The Nigersaurus lived during the early cretaceous period, which was almost 121-99 million years ago. 

    • It followed a strictly herbivorous diet and gained a lot of popularity even back then due to its 500+ teeth. The animal belonged to the genus of the sauropods, which were very large herbivores. The latter walked mostly on four legs. Other sauropods include the diplodocus and brachiosaurus. 

    • The length of the animal was 15 metres and weighed almost 4-5 tons. 

    • Several postcranial bones were found in Algeria, Tunisia and Niger. All in all, historians convey that the origins of this animal are most likely to be from Central Northern Africa. Historians got hold of remains from the Elrhaz Formation as well. It is an area of central Niger known as Gadoufaoua. 

    The first fossils of the Nigersaurus were discovered in 1976. It was, however, named around 1999, followed by the discovery of more extensive and detailed findings of its remains. The genus it belonged to contained a single species known as Nigersaurus taqueti. It was named after a French palaeontologist Philippe Taquet who discovered the first remains for the first time. 

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    Distinguishing characteristics of the Nigersaurus 

    Palaeontologist Paul Sereno nicknamed the Nigersaurus the 'Mesozoic cow.’ He even quoted on this bizarre sauropod as “the weirdest dinosaur I have ever seen.” Here are the unique characteristics of this animal:

    Nigersaurus Teeth 

    • The Nigersaurus’s teeth were one of the key characteristics that set it apart from the rest of the dinosaurs. Its 500+ teeth made it the unique dinosaur. It was said to have grazed for food throughout the now Sahara Desert. It used its large and broad mouth to gather food. The snout was wider than the back of its head. 

    • The palaeontologist Paul Sereno even compared the face of this dinosaur to a vacuum cleaner. This comparison was later said to be an accurate observation. The reconstructed skeletons clearly showed the close resemblance of its mouth to the end of a vacuum cleaner. 

    • As mentioned earlier, it had a wide muzzle. This muzzle acted like a specialized tool for feeding. Other parts that helped them in feeding are the four large side fenestrae, thing bones and openings in the skull. The wide muzzle consisted of at least 500 teeth which were said to be replaced every 14 days. 

    • The most unorthodox parts of the Nigersaurus are the jaw, teeth and mouth. It is the only tetrapod that had jaws wider than its skull. It is also the only tetrapod that is used to examine teeth that extend laterally across the front of the animal. 

    • The tooth structure is also quite unique. The Nigersaurus had dental batteries, which were never seen before in a family of a sauropod. Dental batteries were common within beaked herbivores like the triceratops and rare within sauropods. 

    • Dental batteries acted as efficient tools for animals with a strict herbivores diet. The dental batteries consisted of vertically stacked columns of replaceable teeth. That means if any tooth wore out in any column, it would be replaced by the tooth behind it. 

    • In the case of the Nigersaurus, its upper jaw had about 60 columns of small, needle-like teeth. The lower jaw had almost 68 columns. 

    • All in all, the Nigersaurus had teeth that extended laterally at the front of its mouth. That means it didn’t eat the leaves hanging among the trees. Instead, it fed and grazed at the ground level. The wide muzzle also helped it feed on the low-lying plants. 

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    Nigersaurus Size 

    As mentioned earlier, the Nigersaurus belonged to the family of sauropods. These dinosaurs were some of the largest beasts to walk the Erath. The Nigersaurus was assumed to be approximately 30 feet long and weighed the same as a modern African elephant. Thus, we can consider the Nigersaurus as a small giant. 

    The extensive necks were one of the unique characteristics of the sauropod family. Some animals from this group had necks of 15 metres in length. But, we cannot draw the same conclusion for the Nigersaurus. 

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    Who not Google “What Dinausaur Has 500 Teeth?”

    Don’t Google which dinosaur had 500 teeth- this message has been spreading all over social media. It is also one of the topmost autofill suggestions on search engines. 

    Juvenile and ignorant Reddit users suggested the beast's name sounded similar to the N-word. And the racist comments triggered a warning against doing this search which first began circulating in September 2019. 

    Wrapping up, 

    That is all you needed to know about this recently viral 500-teeth dinosaur. It began as a fact but turned to be a racial slur due to some ignorant users on Reddit. 

    Author Bio:

    Henry Tesfaye is an assistant history professor at a reputed institution in the United Kingdom. He also offers research studies like Shell Case Study Help to students at Henry loves to read in his free time.


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