What Dinosaur Has 500 Teeth? [Nigersaurus] Complete Guide

What Dinosaur Has 500 Teeth? [Nigersaurus] Complete Guide

What Dinosaur Has 500 Teeth? You’re at the correct spot if you came to our website looking to learn what dinosaurs had 500 teeth.

Nigersauraus, which is pronounced “NYE-jer-SORE-us,” and the rather peculiar fact that this dinosaur possessed more than 500 teeth have, sadly, made this dinosaur into an online joke in recent years.

How Was The Name Nigersaurus Derived?

A new and peculiar dinosaur emerged from the Saharan Desert’s dunes. A jawed, elephant-sized beast that is unlike anything the scientific community has ever seen. 

The name Nigersuarus would later be given to that dinosaur. The “Mesozoic Cow” moniker was given to it because many palaeontologists think that their behaviour was comparable to that of contemporary cows.

The name Nigersaurus, which means “Niger’s lizard” or “Niger reptile,” is pronounced “NYE-jer-SORE-us” and comes from the Greek words “sauros,” which means lizard. 

It was one of the earliest sauropodomorph herbivore dinosaurs ever identified. This group of sauropod dinosaurs resembles the Diplodocus. 

In contrast to other dinosaurs, Nigersauraus had a relatively short neck and an incredible 500 teeth in its broad jaws, making it quite distinctive.

Name  Nigersauraus

  • First Discovered By: Africa’s Niger Philippe Taquet
  • While It Was Alive: 100.5–110 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period 
  • Weight: four tonnes
  • Length & Height: Up to 10 metres in both 
  • Diet: Shoots, grasses, water plants, and soft plants

Nigersaurus Lived When?

Nigersaurus was an African land animal that existed during the Cretaceous period. 

Its remains have been found in nations like Niger, and Africa, and it existed between the Aptian Era and roughly 100.5 -110 million years ago.

This time frame includes the Aptian, Albian, and even Cenomanian eras. The dinosaurs’ native habitat was in the African plains and forests. 

The riparian zone, sometimes known as the area next to lakes or streams, was where Nigersaurus typically lived. 

Because of the plentiful water, riparian zones include a lot of low-lying flora. The only sauropod species to graze was Nigersaurus, and scientists think it may have done so virtually continually.

What Did Nigersaurus Eat?

It was well suited for devouring vast quantities of grass as it moved along with its shovel-shaped mouth that had over 500 teeth. 

It is thought that Nigersaurus’s head would have been nearly continually on the ground, perhaps consuming as much vegetation in one day as a football field.

Several palaeontologists think that the 500 Nigersaurus teeth also acted as something of a comb. 

To avoid consuming mud and dirt, Nigersaurus may have used a comb-like mechanism to filter and consume water plants. 

Yet, given the fragility of its jawbones, other experts think it just used its teeth to chop plants and then sucked them in using a vacuum-like action.

Regrettably, other plants replaced the specific grasses to which they had specifically developed as the environment changed. 

Due to its inability to adapt to its environment, Nigersaurus finally became extinct.

Where Was The Nigersaurus Found?

Among the rich fossil vertebrate fauna of the Elrhaz Formation near Gadoufaoua, Republic of Niger, Nigersaurs were found.

The solitary species in the genus, Nigersaurus taqueria, was named after the French palaeontologist Philippe Taquet, who found the first bones during an expedition to Niger from 1965 to 1972.

Nigersaurus fossils were also found and described in 1976, but the name wasn’t given to it until 1999 when more extensive remains were found and described.

Nigersaurus Belonged To What Dinosaur Family

The Sauropodomorpha suborder, Diplodocoidea superfamily, Rebbachisauridae family, and Nigersaurinae subfamily were among the groups of dinosaurs to which the Nigersaurus belonged.

Because of how it seemed to be constructed, experts first believed Nigersaurus belonged to the Dicraeosauridae dinosaur family.

Paul Sereno, however, classed the bones differently in light of recently found fossil data. 

Due to their absence of the bifid neural spines seen in the other dinosaur are the most primitive members of the Diplodocoidea superfamily. 

Strangely, the bones are hollow and filled with air.

If you want to view the well-known dinosaur with 500 teeth, the 110-million-year-old Nigersaurus fossils are on display in Japan and at the Explorers Hall of the National Geographic Museum in Washington. 

The skull, which has all 500 teeth, is part of the skeleton that is on exhibit.

What Resembled A Nigersaurus?

For many years, scientists were unaware of the Nigersaurus’ odd look. To the

This is because the dinosaur’s skeleton is hollow in a number of places, rendering it vulnerable to breakage and deformation. 

While there were several examples of Nigersaurus before 1997, no significant remains had been found, leaving many to conclude that it was simply another common sauropod.

The Sauropod With More Than 500 Teeth

As said before, it’s possible that you came to this website after looking up “What Dinosaur had 500 teeth?” If so, continue reading about Nigersaurs’ teeth in greater detail.

The snout tip did not protrude relative to the remainder of the tooth series, and the tooth row was not at all prognathous. 

The whole maxillary tooth row was transversely rotated, with the back teeth angled forward by 90 degrees.

A comparable rotation of the lower jaw’s dentary reflected this. No other tetrapod had all of its teeth as far forward as Nigersaurus did as a consequence.

The small teeth have slightly curved, oval-shaped crowns in cross-section. 

The teeth in the lower jaw may have been 20–30% smaller than those in the upper jaw. The rest of Nigersaurus’s teeth were identical.

Inside the jaw, there was a column of nine replacement teeth beneath each active tooth. 

More than 500 active and replacement teeth were present in these so-called “dental batteries,” with 68 columns in the upper jaws and 60 columns in the lower jaws. 

The “dental batteries” did not arrive one by one but rather all at once. The outer side of the enamel of Nigersaurus’ teeth was 10 times thicker than the inner side, which made the enamel exceedingly asymmetrical.

The 500-Teeth Dinosaur

All 500 of the Nigersaurus’ teeth were located in its broad snout. According to some experts, they may have been changed every 14 days. 

The lower jaw of the Nigersaurus was divided into two pieces and had a little S-shape.

The 500 teeth were supported by the subcylindrical transverse ramus, while the bulk of the muscle attachments were kept in the back ramus, which was lighter.

Many fenestrae were also present in the jaws, including three that were not seen in other sauropods.

The presence of a keratinous sheath was suggested by grooves on the front ends of the jaws. 

Nigersaurus is the only known tetrapod with jaws wider than the head and front teeth that extended laterally.

Lips With Duckbill Shapes

Even broader than the hadrosaurs with “duck-billed” snouts, the snout was. The teeth of these sauropods are among the most important pieces of evidence for understanding how and what they consumed.

The tiny facets and abrasions on the teeth show a pattern of pits and micro-scratches that show what the Nigersaurus ate.

This in turn naturally wore the teeth down and enabled scientists to obtain information on the Nigersaurus diet, which comprised soft vegetation, in order to make an educated judgement.

Neanderthal skull

One of the first dinosaur skulls to be digitally recreated using CT scans was the genuine fossil skull of the Nigersaurus. 

The scientists looked at its cranium using computed tomography and found an oddity.

The scans showed that Nigersaurus had “organs of equilibrium,” which functioned similarly to our own semicircular canals in maintaining balance.

Based on the placement of those organs, it indicates that Nigersaurus spent the most of its time with its head almost straight down towards the earth.

 “That’s not how these massive long-necked dinosaurs are often represented,” you may be thinking. 

You’d be accurate, too! This supports the idea that Nigersaurus was a ground-level grazer and would have used its 500 teeth like a lawnmower to draw in grass almost continuously.

The olfactory lobes, which aid the brain in detecting smells, were thought to be substantially less in size in Nigersaurus than previously thought, based on an analysis of its brain cavity.

The Head Of The Nigersaurus Was Quite Distinctive

The skull of the Nigersaurus was rather unique. Only the tetrapod Nigersaurus has jaws that are broader than the rest of its head. 

It possessed four more fenestrae (an aperture in the skull located in front of the eye sockets) than other sauropods, and its bones were very brittle.

It’s conceivable that the jaws’ tips were covered with keratinous material. The nasal apertures were bigger and the mandible was S-shaped.

Although being fragile, the skull bone was strong enough to withstand repeated abuse from consuming plants.

Neanderthal skull

image source Own work by CaptMondo, CC BY-SA 3.0. Nigersaurus was given the moniker “Mesozoic cow” because of its distinctive skull characteristics and feeding habits.

One of Nigersaurus’ distinctive skull characteristics was that the snout and rear of the skull were connected by only 1.0 cm2 of bone (0.16 sq. in). 

These struts that connected the bones were often thinner than 2 mm (0.08 in).

In sauropodomorphs, a closed supratemporal fenestra was another distinctive characteristic. 

The front border of the bony nostril seems to be closer to the snout than in other diplodocoids, despite the fact that the precise position of the nasal bones is uncertain.

The Size of Nigersaurus

Like most other sauropods, Nigersaurus was a quadruped with a small head, robust hind legs, and a prominent tail.

With a body length of about 9–10 metres (30–feet), Nigersaurus was the smallest member of that clade, and its femur was only one metre long (3ft 3 in).

Nigersaurus weighed around 4 tonnes (4.4 short tonnes), which is comparable to the weight of an elephant in the present day.

It had a neck that was relatively short for a sauropod, with just thirteen cervical vertebrae. Its cranium bones, some of which are almost transparent, were exceptionally thin.

What Dinosaur Has 500 Teeth?

For a Sauropod, Nigersaurus’ mouth is very odd. Nigersaurus had a big mouth (wider than the rest of its head) and would have utilised its 500 teeth to chew up food once it was in its mouth.

Palaeontologists claim that a hatchling Nigersaurus’s jawbone could “fit on top of a silver dollar” despite the fact that adults could grow up to 30 feet long.

The Fossilised Remnants Of Nigersaurus

The bones of the Nigersaurus were incredibly thin and pneumatic, which frustrated the scientific community. 

In fact, one of the fragments of a Nigersaurus skull was so thin that the sun could flow straight through it.

The bones’ poor preservation was caused by their delicate state. The good news is that, with the exception of a few rib bones and coccygeal vertebrae, practically all of the Nigersaurus’ bones have been found.

In 2005, a thorough essay on Nigersaurus’ appearance was released. The author of that essay discussed both its special feeding capabilities and its skull, which had 500 teeth.

In 2007, a more thorough study on the full skeleton of the Nigersaurus was released. 

Many fossils discovered by other palaeontologists are currently being analysed, and as the study goes on, more data will be made public.

Additional Information About The Skeleton Of The Nigersaurus

Significant pneumatization of the presacral vertebrae (vertebrae that come before the sacrum) resulted in a column made up of a series of hollow “shells,” each divided in the centre by a thin septum. 

Since they were completely devoid of cancellous bone, the thin bone plates had air gaps.

Expansions of the exterior air sacs severely damaged the vertebral arches, leaving just 2 mm (0.08 in) thick crossing laminae, or ridges, between the pneumatic apertures, on their sides.

Contrarily, the centre of the tail vertebrae were strong. Similar to the pectoral and pelvic girdle bones, they were very thin, barely a few millimetres thick. 

In contrast to the remainder of the skeleton’s light construction, Nigersaurus’ limbs were powerful like those of other sauropods.

As the front legs were around two-thirds the length of the rear legs, like with other diplodocoids, Nigersaurus’ limbs were not particularly distinctive. 

The bones of the Nigersaurus were highly pneumatized or more simply put, they were packed with air-filled spaces, especially those of the head and vertebral column. 

Hence, according to experts, it may have improved this big dinosaur’s agility. 

According to some experts, it could have been a characteristic that helped with breathing, like those that contemporary birds have. Without soft tissue data, this idea cannot be validated.

Last Words

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  • March 18, 2023