First evidence for tooth–tooth occlusion in a ctenochasmatid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota

Posted on 24.11.2021 - 12:14
Ctenochasmatid pterosaurs flourished and diversified in the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota. Here, a partial mandible of Forfexopterus is described based on a three-dimensional reconstruction using high-resolution X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) data. The first nine pairs of functional teeth of the rostral dentition are revealed along with their replacements. The functional teeth are evenly arranged with a tooth density of 2.2 teeth/cm. The tooth crown is distinctly reduced from its base to the tip, and framed by two weak ridges, possibly as a pair of vestigial carinae. The replacement teeth are sharp and pointed, and have erupted slightly against the medial surface of the functional teeth. Surprisingly, tooth wear is observed in this specimen, the first record of tooth–tooth occlusion in ctenochasmatids. The wear facets exhibit high-angled lingual and lower-angled labial facets, implying a tooth–tooth occlusion in the pterosaur clade. This discovery indicates that the Jehol ctenochasmatids possibly employed a more active feeding strategy than other filter-feeding pterosaurs (e.g. Ctenochasma, Pterodaustro, Gnathosaurus).

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Zhou, Chang-Fu; Wang, Xinyue; Wang, Jiahao (2021): First evidence for tooth–tooth occlusion in a ctenochasmatid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota. Geological Society of London. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5722060.v1
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