“Mesozoic Cow” appears to be a joke that was adapted in Gary Larson’s ” The Far Side.” However, it’s not. The name was coined to the African dinosaur Nigersaurus Taqueti at the time that certain new findings about the creature’s appearance were revealed during 2007..

In an interview with NPR during the interview Paleontologist Paul Sereno called Nigersaurus (pronounced “NI”-juhr– SOR-us) “the strangest dinosaur I’ve ever come across.” Then he compared its appearance to the face of a vacuum cleaner.

A shrewd herbivore It is believed that this reptile consumed food in what is today known as the Sahara Desert 110 million years ago. It was able to gather food using large, wide mouth. Its nose was longer then the back animal’s head.

What Dinosaur has 500 Teeth: Then Nigersaurus could have teeth. Indeed, hundreds of them.

What Dinosaur has 500 Teeth

When you refer to something as “elephant-sized” typically means that it’s very large. If not, it’s simply massive.

Nigersaurus was about 29 feet (or about nine metres) long. According to the most optimistic estimates, it was about 4.4 tonnes (i.e. four meters). In the end the dinosaur was roughly the size of an current African elephant.

There’s only one caveat. There’s a reason, Nigersaurus was one of the sauropod. One of the most important dinosaurian species of the day, the small-headed, plant-eating sauropods lived for around 140 million years. Their ranks included some of the largest species ever to traverse the Earth.

Experts believe that the massive species could have been more than 110 feet (33.5 meters) in length. While 40 to 85-foot (12 to 26 meters) sauropods are widespread throughout certain regions that are fossilized.

In contrast, Nigersaurus was on the smaller side. The thing that caught the attention of everyone was the mug of the dinosaur.

A Dentist’s nightmare

Sereno’s comparison of vacuums is in the right direction. When viewed from the top, Nigersaurus’s muzzle appears to be the commercial side for one of the home appliances.

These jaws held something previously unimaginable by a sauropod tooth, also known as “dental,” batteries.

This isn’t talking regarding Double A Duracells here. Dental batteries were effective tools for food processing that were used by numerous plant-eating dinos. They comprised vertically stacked columns with replaceable teeth. If the top tooth was worn out in a column, the one below it would be moved to the left and take over the old tooth’s place.

Even better the tooth columns were placed right next to each other, much like canned Sardines. Thus, a dinosaur equipped by dental battery could easily store more than a hundred teeth (old and new) within its mouth.

In Nigersaurus’s case the upper jaws were stocked with 60 rows of tiny, needle-shaped teeth. A total of one hundred and 68 of them were at the bottom jaws. When viewed in total the beast had greater than 500 teeth.

Dinosaur-hunters are used to finding dental batteries in beaked herbivores like the horned Triceratops and shovel-billedEdmontosaurus. However, they’re not common among sauropods.

“Mind Should I Search?”

The tooth position is as crucial as the quantity of teeth. Ask anyone who has ever had to use braces.

The tooth columns of Nigersaurus dental batteries were arranged near the front of the mouth, placed along the muzzle’s curving outer edge.

What’s a dinosaur’s job with chompers that look like these? A snooze on the treetops was likely not an alternative. Nigersaurus was not just small-bodied for sauropods, the animal also had small neck.

There is no evidence to suggest that Nigersaurus was fed at the level of the ground. Similar to the cow.

Nigersaurus was named for it’s West African country where its fossils were discovered: The Republic of Niger. When this animal was roaming, forests and braided rivers were everywhere. (Nigersaurus had to keep an eye out for Sarcosuchus which was a massive cousin of modern crocodiles.)

The wide mouth was ideal to scoop up ferns, horsestails, and other low-lying plants. And , with its abundant What Dinosaur has 500 Teeth, this dinosaur would have not had any trouble tearing through the plant life.

Consuming a diet like this can be bad for our dental health. Nigersaurus likely wore its tooth crowns out in a rapid rate. It’s good to know that it had a continuous supply of healthy teeth. According to an study from 2013 that was published in PLOS One, Nigersaurus likely substituted every “new” tooth within 14 days.

Head’s Up! (Maybe)

Since Nigersaurus was a head-to-toe eater with its head lower scientists have been pondering the posture of its head. Sereno as well as his colleagues claimed that the herbivore turned its head and neck towards the downwards- regardless of whether it was eating or not in the course of habit.

After a long and laborious process the team was successful in rebuild an inside view of Nigersaurus skull. They were able to get a great glimpse of the lateral canal (LSC) of the inner ear. It aids animals in maintaining their equilibrium.

Based on the LSC direction in Nigersaurus, Sereno and company believed that the animal was seen walking around with its snout pointed towards the ground at an angle of 67 degrees. Imagine a teenager who is grouchy and you’ll understand.

Others have challenged the claim, however. Studies published during 2010 in 2009 and 2013 discovered that the position of the LSC isn’t a reliable indicator of the normal head position was. It’s time to create a time machine now.

The Air Apparent

Nigersaurus did not come under the radar for quite some time. The first fossils belonging to the animal were found in the 50s, by French paleontologists from the Nigerian Sahara. Unfortunately, the majority of the bones were found to be fragmentary or isolated.

Scientists during the time did not think of giving the sauropod an official name.

Things became more intriguing in 1997. It was the year that an employee of Sereno’s field team spotted the presence of Nigersaurus skull bone fragments. In the course of two missions, enough material was found to reconstruct approximately eighty percent animal’s skull.

What a skeleton that was! The fossils discovered recently provided us with our first glimpse at the dino’s complex dental battery and the mouth of a vacuum cleaner. Sereno identified the species as Nigersaurus Taqueti as an tribute the paleontologist Philippe Taquet – in 1999.

Scientists would have probably discovered more Nigersaurus remains earlier if it weren’t due to the animal’s delicate bone structure. In the findings of a 2007 study conducted by the Sereno lab the animal was an “featherweight skull.” The bones of Nigersaurus head were less than 0.08 millimeters (or 2.25 millimeters) thick.

The randomness didn’t stop there.

Much like today’s birds, ancient dinosaurs also had bones that were hollow that contained air sacs. Nigersaurus vertebrae took this concept to an extreme. By volume certain of its backbones actually had more air in them as … actually more than bones..

Wafer-thin fossils aren’t easy objects to keep and research. What Dinosaur has 500 Teeth, somebody’s to get it done!