Weird dinosaurs lost all their teeth and grew beaks as they aged: paleontologists say

Weird dinosaurs lost all their teeth and grew beaks as they aged: paleontologists say

A dinosaur species related to the T. rex started out life with a full set of pointy teeth but grew up to lose them all and get a beak instead, according to a new research.

A team of researchers led by George Washington University’s paleontology PhD candidate Josef Stiegler analyzed 19 dinosaur skeletons unearthed in China’s Gobi desert. They were surprised to find that fossils of young members of the Limusaurus inextricabilis species had jaws with chompers, while adults had beaks.

Following a deeper analysis of the fossils, they estimated that members of the members of the L. inextricabilis lose all of their teeth by the age of 3 years, and lived the rest of their life with of teeth. The adult members of the 160-million-year old species sprouted a beak instead.

Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist from the University of Edinburgh, said, “Who would have thought that a dinosaur would start off with teeth and then replace them with a beak when it became an adult?”

The change in L. inextricabilis’ anatomy was likely to enable the species to change its diet as it grew, which possibly allowed juveniles and adults to live together without any need to vie for food.

The paleontologists detailed their interesting findings about the now-extinct species in a recent issue of the journal Current Biology.


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