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One For The Dino Experts


32fordboy

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Okay, I am a mammal guy, so please forgive any ignorance.

I've had a dromaeosaur tooth for quite some time now. It's from Hell Creek.

At the Denver show, I spent some time carefully handling and looking at other Dromaeosaur teeth. They were all very pointy with a blade-like cross section.

After getting home, I looked at the one in the collection. It is fat, banana shaped, and blocky. The serrations are offset to one side and have a bit of twist as viewed from the top. The serrations go all the way down to the bottom on the rear, and halfway down on the front. All the other dromaeosaur teeth I can find have serrations running all the way down both sides.

Question: has anybody ever been able to make an educated generalization of dromaeosaur vs tiny tyrannosaurid teeth? I find it hard to imagine no tiny Tyrannosaurid teeth have ever been found.

Pictured is the specimen in question. It is 3/4" long, straight line.

post-741-0-91411100-1348281085_thumb.jpg

Edited by 32fordboy
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It does seem hefty...

"There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about." - Ashleigh Ellwood Brilliant

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” - Thomas Henry Huxley

>Paleontology is an evolving science.

>May your wonders never cease!

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Glad you see it, too. Though there isn't much in the collection to compare to (10 theropod teeth, total), the tooth it resembles the most is a much larger T. bataar tooth. I still have no Tyrannosaurus material to compare to and the only Nanotyrannus tooth in the collection is from a different position, so its shape is not good for comparison.

Edited by 32fordboy
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Nick,

I sent the pics to Walter Stein (runs PaleoAdventures out in South Dakota). His reply:

"...Looks pretty stocky for Dromaeosaurus. Most raptor teeth are medio-laterally compressed. This isn't. Has two two rows of serrations so not saurornitholestes. Not trrodontid or paranycodon or richardoestesia. Serration is too coarse and too straight for nano. Call me crazy, but if I was a gambling man, i might call it a young tyrannosaurus..."

Lance

Edited by LanceHS
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Wicked cool. Obviously theropod teeth aren't easy, so it's kind of a wise-man's guessing game, so-to-speak. The help is appreciated, Lance. I was expecting a reply from you and you didn't let us down. B)

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I sent the pics to Walter Stein (runs PaleoAdventures out in South Dakota). His reply: "...if I was a gambling man, i might call it a young tyrannosaurus..."

So let the wild rumpus begin!

Because a juvenile T. rex has never been found, there are folks that think Nanotyrannus is a young rex. When an 'extraordinary claim' surfaces, based on an unassociated tooth, make some popcorn. :popcorn:

"There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about." - Ashleigh Ellwood Brilliant

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” - Thomas Henry Huxley

>Paleontology is an evolving science.

>May your wonders never cease!

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I talked to Peter Larson about Nano vs T-rex last weekend. Now that they have some astonishing new material, he makes a fantastic case that Nano is indeed a seperate genus, whether a juvenile rex has been found or not. A lot of it has to do with non-skull stuff, such as hand size. He was a very interesting guy to talk to...very enthusiastic.

At the same time, I'm not trying to make up excuses for the tooth to be Tyrannosaur. A little variation is nice, regardless of genus.

Edited by 32fordboy
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So let the wild rumpus begin!

Indeed!

You know, it is interesting to me that the commercial dig folk that I know in Montana and South Dakota lean towards Nano as being valid...academics I've met (at the Philadelphia museum and at SVP meetings) dismiss Nano...just a little observation...

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Wicked cool. Obviously theropod teeth aren't easy, so it's kind of a wise-man's guessing game, so-to-speak. The help is appreciated, Lance. I was expecting a reply from you and you didn't let us down. B)

Always glad to add my two pennies. BTW, I was looking at my T. rex teeth and I can see why Walter would lean towards your tooth being a juvenile rex.

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Looks vary dromaeosaurid to me I have a few and they all vary in one way or another! Some have thinner walls of the roots some thicker some short and fat and some long and curved it all may be just different teeth in the mouth. As for the great debate. On nano and Trex My hypothesis is that in nature there are lots of mimic animals and there is no reason to think Dino's were any different . The "nano's " would benefit them to look like juvenile Trex especially if the Trex was a helicopter parent. it would not be good for any one Dino to mess with a adult Trex that was waching over there young. :) great tooth

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I talked to Peter Larson about Nano vs T-rex last weekend...He was a very interesting guy to talk to...very enthusiastic.

My bucket list includes having dinner with him someday; rather high on the list, actually.

"There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about." - Ashleigh Ellwood Brilliant

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” - Thomas Henry Huxley

>Paleontology is an evolving science.

>May your wonders never cease!

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When I first read your text description of the tooth, before seeing the pictures, I was going to point out that "Dromaeosaurus" teeth are actually quite different from the rest of the "dromaeosaurid" teeth. But, seeing the pictures, I agree with everyone else that it's a small T. rex tooth.

You know, it is interesting to me that the commercial dig folk that I know in Montana and South Dakota lean towards Nano as being valid...academics I've met (at the Philadelphia museum and at SVP meetings) dismiss Nano...just a little observation...

An excellent observation, and I agree, quite a fascinating correlation...

As for relative hand size, you would have to consider ontogenetic changes - a puppy has relatively large paws compared to an adult dog.

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As for relative hand size, you would have to consider ontogenetic changes - a puppy has relatively large paws compared to an adult dog.

And there's the catch. It's not relative. From what Peter Larson was saying (and I may have misunderstood), the Nano's hand, at the animal's small size, was actually larger than an adult t-rex hand. So if Nano was a juvenile, the hand would actually have to shrink (physically, not relatively) as the animal aged. It's not impossible, but (at least I think) fairly improbable. He even mentioned it couldn't be a result of ontogeny.

With the Montana Dueling Dinos available for them to research, I'm sincerely inclined to trust his opinion about Nano vs Rex. Now, Bakker has also had a chance to inspect the specimens. If he says otherwise, it's all up in the air again.

Very interesting stuff. I can't wait to hear their final results once the research is "done".

EDIT: Since things are always changing, I will note here that my discussion with Larson was on 9/15/12.

Edited by 32fordboy
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That would be an interesting difference between the two taxa. Would be annoying, though, if you always had to find the hands to determine species! Can't wait to see the published paper.

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Sorry to drag this out, just trying to get a more positive ID using various methods, regardless of genus. So far, it appears to be Tyrannosaurid, but does anybody else have microscope serration shots of various theropods, dromaeosurs (including Dromaeosaurus) in particular?

I just compared the serrations on all my theropod teeth under a microscope. The Tyrannosaurus and this little guy are identical, aside from size. No others matched either one. The serrations seem to be blocky as viewed from the side, sharp as viewed from above, and have a black ridge on the outer edge.

Attached are serration photos of a 3.25" Tyrannosaurus tooth and the little guy in question.

post-741-0-79091800-1348348960_thumb.jpg

post-741-0-61133300-1348348962_thumb.jpg

Edited by 32fordboy
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The serrations and their shape can be the only way to ID most carnosaur teeth

Nice teeth you have

Edited by grampa dino
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NIck-

you are going past my expertise here, but it sure does look like a small t rex tooth to me... inflated cross-section at the base, compared to your run of the mill dromeosaur. But it is rather small. Lancian (=Lance and Hell Creek) theropod teeth have not really been studied too much... there was paper on Judithian (slightly older than Lancian) theropod teeth in a book that I have at home edited by Ken Carpenter (old man moment on the name of said book). We/I find a lot of very small (=baby) hadrosaur teeth in our/my microsiites so why not a baby t rex tooth? They gotta be out there. Now I'm gonna go home and look at all of my dromeosaurs and see if I can't make one into a little rex. beautiful tooth, by the way.

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Killer tooth irregardless of the ID. Still, Im hoping for it ends up as a juvie T-Rex. Keep us posted!

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Hey all. I recently found the large theropod tooth that is my avatar and posted the question to a staff member at the Tyrell museum as to whether or not is was possibly T-Rex or Albertosaurus. Here is what he had to say:

"The identification of the theropod tooth would depend on what stratigraphic level you found it. T. rex only occurs in the Scollard Formation, and Albertosaurus only occurs in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation. There is some Scollard exposed in the Tolman area, but most of the exposure there is Horseshoe Canyon Fm. The Scollard exposures are right at the top, so if you got it anywhere in the lower three quarters of the formation, it would be Albertosaurus. Unfortunately there is nothing on the tooth, other than size, that would differentiation any of the large tyrannosaurids, and size only works for the extremely large T. rex teeth since the largest Albertosaur teeth overlap in size with the teeth from Tyrannosaurus. Small size is not reliable because they can be from juvenile individuals or small adults."

I don't want to post names but he has been there quite a while and I respect his professional opinion. Just something to think about.

Edited by rejd

A fossil hunter needs sharp eyes and a keen search image, a mental template that subconsciously evaluates everything he sees in his search for telltale clues. -Richard E. Leakey

http://prehistoricalberta.lefora.com

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Some of my Nanotyrannus teeth look just like yours; but the serrations are a bit tighter. I always wondered if Nanos were Juvi T. Rexs anyway. Bill

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Heres a Nanotyrannus tooth (for comparison) I aquired quite a few years ago as part of a trade...I was told then it was most likely a Juvi T.Rex....Maybe you guys can tell me more about it...

post-1630-0-91236600-1348830397_thumb.jpg post-1630-0-86163700-1348830411_thumb.jpg

post-1630-0-50585200-1348830436_thumb.jpg post-1630-0-86586100-1348830449_thumb.jpg

Cheers Steve... And Welcome if your a New Member... :)

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