Curriculum Collections: What Teeth Tell us

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Centosaurus head fossil

ERN Item Type: 

  • Classroom Activities

Organization: 

American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

Description: 

In the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, robotic dinosaur skulls demonstrate how the dental adaptations of plant-eating dinisaurs worked. They show that as teeth wore down, new teeth grew to replace them. Paleontologists can tell a lot from the size of a dinosaur's skull and from the teeth in it. If the skull has powerful jaws and long, sharp teeth, then the dinosaur was most probably a meat-eater, a carnivore. The teeth were used to rip apart meat. Wide, flat teeth with ridges indicate that the dinosaur was a plant-eater, a herbivore. The teeth were used to mash and grind tough vegetation. This activity will introduce students to teeth and help them differentiate between the teeth of meat-eaters and plant-eaters.

Grade Level: 

Tags: 

Earth Science Big Ideas: 

Is this tagged to NGSS by the organization?: 

No