Mammal-Like Dentition in a Mesozoic Crocodylian

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Science  02 Jun 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4908, pp. 1064-1066
DOI: 10.1126/science.244.4908.1064


Crocodylian teeth are generally conical with little differentiation in shape along the tooth row. The mandible is incapable of any fore-aft movement, and feeding typically involves little or no intraoral processing. Complex, multi-cusped, mammal-like teeth differentiated along the tooth row have been found in a Cretaceous crocodylian from Malawi. The morphology of the teeth and mandible indicates that food items were processed by back-to-front (proal) movement of the mandible, unlike living crocodylians but as in some mammals and Sphenodon (the tuatara).

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