After the Reddit meme “don’t research the internet with what dinosaur has 500 teeth” went popular, the Nigersaurus became an online viral meme craze. Frequently, a simple google auto-suggestion triggers unusual events that pique public interest in a particular problem or subject. The Nigersaurus is in a similar situation. This voracious dinosaur, which lived 115 million years ago in Niger, a small West African country, was nothing like the meme! So, how did this one-of-a-kind dinosaur appear in its prime? And how did it come to be discovered? So, here’s a quick rundown on the fabled “dinosaur with 500 teeth.”
Nigersaurus was initially reported in a study paper by Phillippe Taquet in 1976. During a trip in the Republic of Niger in 1965-1972, this French palaeontologist uncovered the remains for the first time. However, because there was no complete skeleton, the discovery was frequently overlooked.
Near 1999, Paul Sereno, an American palaeontologist from Chicago University, led an excursion to the Elrahz Formation in Gadoyfaoua, Niger. He discovered the bones of this carnivorous dinosaur in its entirety. In 2007, Sereno and his colleague Jeffrey A. Wilson published another paper on the Nigersaurus skull and feeding behaviour. He also gave the National Geographic Society in Washington a complete plastic model of the dinosaur’s head.
“Nigersaurus, you might recall, we named for bones recovered on the last expedition here three years ago,” Sereno wrote in his online journal on September 9, 2000. The head of this sauropod (long-necked dinosaur) is remarkable, with 500 thin teeth. One of the expedition’s main objectives is to locate the rest of this remarkable dinosaur so that we may describe and reconstruct it for everyone to see.”
He also went into great detail about how the crew discovered this one-of-a-kind dinosaur with 500 teeth. “While going across a relatively flat terrain, Gabe made a startling find—the bones of a new plant-eating dinosaur were partially exposed at her feet,” according to his report. She brushed the sand from her top jaw with her hand. Parts of the backbone and hip bones were found nearby. The bones are from a skeleton that would be roughly 30 feet long, so this was a nasty client! As the field season progresses, we hope to find additional evidence of this sharp-toothed critter.”
Other fossils connected to this 500-toothed dinosaur have also been identified in Brazil. However, a full fossil has yet to be discovered. As a result, it was impossible to create a full skeleton of the famous Nigersaurus. Nonetheless, palaeontologists are doing their best to do in-depth research in order to learn more about this ancient millennia mammal.
What is the significance of the name?
Because of its unusual name, Nigersaurus has been a target for online memes. If you look attentively, though, you’ll notice that the term is a scientific manner of naming dinosaurs. Nigersaurus taqueti is the scientific name for this dinosaur, which belongs to the genus “Nigersaurus,” which means “Niger reptile” or “Niger reptile” (republic of niger).
The name of the species is also a nod to Phillippe Taqueti, who was the first to mention this dinosaur.
Is it true that it had 500 teeth?
In a technical sense, it did. The skull of Nigersaurus possessed 500 thin teeth. All of these teeth, however, were not permanent. Nigersaurus possessed 500 teeth in all, including permanent and replacement teeth!
What did this 500-toothed dinosaur look like?
In a nutshell, Nigersaurus is related to Sauropods. Like every other dinosaur, it used to have a smaller skull, ticker hind legs, and a tail. It was barely 9 metres tall, with a 1 metre femur. They must have weighed 4 tonnes, according to palaeontologists. As a result, a Nigersaurus could have been the same height and weight as a modern elephant. It has a short neck with only thirteen cervical vertebrae due to its body composition.
The Fenestra holes in the skull of Nigersaurus are larger than those of other dinosaurs with longer necks. The cranium, on the other hand, was sturdy enough to withstand the shearing of the 500 teeth. Its nostrils were also bony and elongated.
They had shorter snouts. Nigersaurus, on the other hand, had shorter snouts. Their snot tip was proportional to the tooth series and their tooth row was not prognathous. Another distinguishing aspect of the Nigersaurus was its extended skull, which was replaced by a prominent depression in the brain portion. In addition, their maxillary tooth was rotated in the same way as its lower jaw. This one-of-a-kind characteristic enables their mouth to contain all 500 teeth.
Their teeth were designed specifically for their carnivorous diet. Teeth in the lower jaw were 20-30% smaller than those in the upper jaw. On the teeth, there were also curved tooth crowns and irregular enamel (thicker on the outside). It enabled them to pluck plants from the ground.
This dinosaur was described by Paul Sereno as an ancient crocodile. It possessed one foot of armour plates on its back. The vertebral arches are deeply punctured, and the laminae between the pneumatic apertures are thick and fascinating. There were no firm centra in the vertebrae of its tail. Only a few millimetres separated the pelvic and pectoral progle bones. It had powerful limbs, just as other sauropods or elongated dinosaurs. The front lends may have been two-thirds the length of the hind legs, a diplodocus characteristic.
- Animalia is the kingdom of animals.
Chordata is a phylum of insects.
Dinosauria is a clade of dinosaurs.
Saurischia is a clade of plants.
Sauropodomorpha is a clade of dinosaurs.
Sauropoda is a dinosaur clade.
Diplodocoidea is a superfamily.
Rebbachisauridae is a family of dinosaurs.
Rebecchi is a subfamily of the Rebecchi. Suriname
Nigersaurus is a genus of dinosaurs.
Nigersaurus taqueti is a species of dinosaur.
What did it consume?
Initially, Nigersaurus was supposed to be a herbivore. However, like any other sauropod, it is assumed to be a herbivore. Minor parallel tooth scrapes with pits can be found on it. This is common in herbivores who eat ferns, weeds, and other low-level plants. During this time, grass did not evolve. As a result, this 500-toothed dinosaur lived by eating horsetails, angiosperms, ferns, and other plants. Due to their rigid neck and height, they did not eat cycads, aquatic vegetation, or conifers.
They are comparable to modern flamingos. Like these pink birds, Nigersaurus may have used its teeth as a comb to sift out aquatic ferns and other plants while feeding. However, according to Sereno, nigersaurus may have also eaten short conifers and other ground-level vegetation.
It couldn’t chew plants well because of the lateral placement of its teeth. As a result, their teeth began to rot quickly. As a result, they need this large quantity of 500 teeth to ensure that the bad teeth were replaced with new and functional ones. They have a faster rate of tooth replacement than any other herbivore dinosaur!
Where did it call home?
Nigersaurus lived in Gadoufaoua, Republic of Niger, in the Elhaz Formation of the Tegma group. Fluvial sandstones with low reliefs and occasional dunes with coarse-medium grains are found in this area. During the Mic-cretaceous period, however, this area was a floodplain. The wetlands provided it with sufficient food from ground-level vegetation to keep it alive.
So, to summarise, Nigersaurus was a simple, harmless dinosaur that lived approximately 115 million years ago. Scientists must learn more about this dinosaur in order to gain a better understanding of it!