They discover the fossils of a carnivorous dinosaur that constantly regenerated its teeth in Portugal

Illustration of the Iberospinus natarioi found in Portugal.

Photo: Victor Feijo de Carvalho / Courtesy

The fossil remains of a strange carnivorous dinosaur that had the ability to quickly regenerate its sharp teeth were found and identified in Portugal, as published last Wednesday by the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

In 1999, amateur paleontologist Carlos Natário found the remains of this rare prehistoric animal. After being unearthed between 2004 and 2008, the first analyzes of its remains led to the belief that it was a copy of the famous Baryonyx walkeri.

However, after further excavation in 2020, in which new teeth, parts of his jaw, a femur and other vertebrae were found, it was concluded that in fact It was a new kind of spinosaurid, which corresponds to one of the many families of theropod dinosaurs.

elongated jaws like crocodiles

Iberospinus natarioiwhich means “Iberian spine” and mixes the name of its initial discoverer, belongs to the group of predatory dinosaurs of spinosauridwhich includes the Spinosaurus aegyptiacusrecognized for carrying a large fin on its spine.

These types of predators had long jaws.similar to that of modern crocodiles, with serrated teeth, which they used to catch fish and other aquatic species.

Quick tooth replacement

Although it is not surprising that the spinosaurids had the ability to replace their teeth, the I. natarioi he had the ability to constantly replace new teeth in a much faster way, because he apparently lost them very often.

“In some tooth sockets, they had two replacement teeth (in development alongside the current one),” said study co-author Darío Estraviz-López, of the NOVA School of Science and Technology, and the Museum of Lourinhã, Portugal.

“This means that their teeth were falling out very, very quickly,” he added.

Iberospinus natarioi, that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula 130 million years ago, is the third dinosaur belonging to the family of spinosaurids found in the area, after Camarillasaurus cirugedae and the Vallibonavenatrix cani.

With information from DW.

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