A model for the bite mechanics in the herbivorous dinosaur Stegosaurus (Ornithischia, Stegosauridae)
- Miriam Reichel
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Although the herbivorous dinosaur Stegosaurus (Ornithischia, Stegosauridae) is a well-described Late Jurassic taxon, little is known about the feeding habits and biomechanics of its homodont dentition. The presence of a rhamphotheca has been suggested, but it is still unknown how much such structure would have participated in the foraging behaviour of Stegosaurus. To better understand the feeding mechanism of this taxon, three-dimensional models of a Stegosaurus tooth were created, using the software ZBrush®. One model was simple and lacked serrations, whereas the other model included serrations. Those models were then transferred to the software Strand7®, where finite element analyses took place. The models were given material properties of enamel, based on studies done with crocodilian and mammalian teeth. In addition to that, bite forces were calculated for Stegosaurus, based on skull proportions. The results show little difference between the force distributions on the serrated and non-serrated models, indicating an efficient mechanism of stress dissipation that avoids high stresses being transferred to the jaw bones during biting. Digital plant models were also created to test the calculated bite forces in Stegosaurus, which suggests this animal was capable of biting through smaller branches. Computer modelling and analyses provide additional information about feeding habits and plant preferences for Stegosaurus, and can be adapted for studying other comparable herbivorous taxa.
- Abler, W. L. (1992). The serrated teeth of tyrannosaurid dinosaurs, and biting structures in other animals. Paleobiology, 18, 161–183.
- Anderson, P., Gill, P., & Rayfield, E. (2009). How the cingula of basal mammal teeth may alleviate strain in the enamel caused by a soft food diet. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29(Suppl. 3), 54A.
- Bamman, M. W., Newcomer, B. R., Larson-Meyer, D., Weisner, R. L., & Hunter, G. R. (2000). Evaluation of the strength-size relation in vivo using various muscle size indices. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32, 1307–1313. CrossRef
- Barrett, P. M. (2001). Tooth wear and possible jaw action of Scelidosaurus harrisonii Owen and a review of feeding mechanisms in other thyreophoran dinosaurs. In K. Carpenter (Ed.), The armored dinosaurs (pp. 25–52). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
- Bell, P. B., Snively, E., & Shychosky, L. A. (2009). Comparison of the jaw mechanics in hadrosaurid and ceratopsid dinosaurs using finite element analysis. The Anatomical Record, 292, 1338–1351. CrossRef
- Boresi, A. P., & Schmidt, R. J. (2003). Advanced mechanics of materials. New York: Wiley, 681 pp.
- Creech, J. E. (2004). Phylogenetic character analysis of crocodylian enamel microstructure and its relevance to biomechanical performance. Unpublished Masters thesis, Florida State University, Tallahassee, 59 pp.
- Currey, J. D. (2002). Bones: structure and mechanics (436 pp). New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
- Czerkas, S. (1998). The lips, beaks, and cheeks of ornithischians. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 18(Suppl. 3), 37A.
- Czerkas, S. (1999). The beaked jaw of stegosaurs and their implications for other ornithischians. In D. D. Gillette (Ed.). Vertebrate paleontology in Utah (Vol. 99, pp. 143–150). Miscellaneous Publications of Utah Geological Survey.
- Edmund, A. G. (1969). Dentition. In C. Gans, et al.: Biology of the reptilia—morphology A (Vol. 1, pp. 117–200). London, UK: Academic Press.
- Erickson, G. M., Van Kirk, S. D., Su, J., Levenston, M. E., Caler, W. E., & Carter, D. R. (1996). Bite-force estimation for Tyrannosaurus rex from tooth-marked bones. Nature, 382, 706–707. CrossRef
- Farke, A. A. (2008). Frontal sinuses and head-butting in goats: a finite element analysis. Journal of Experimental Biology, 211, 3085–3094. CrossRef
- Galton, P. M., & Upchurch, P. (2004). Stegosauria. In D. B. Weishampel et al. (Eds.), The Dinosauria (2nd ed., pp. 343–362). Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Hwang, S. H. (2005). Phylogenetic patterns of enamel microstructure in dinosaur teeth. Journal of Morphology, 266, 208–240. CrossRef
- Lin, C.-J., Wang, S.-Y., Yang, T.-H., & Tsai, M.-J. (2006). Compressive strength of young Taiwania (Taiwania cryptomerioides) trees grown with different thinning and pruning treatments. Journal of Wood Sciences, 52, 337–341. CrossRef
- Manly, R. S., Hodge, H. C., & Ange, L. E. (1939). Density and refractive index studies of dental hard tissues: II. Density distribution curves 1, 2. Journal of Dental Research, 18, 203–211.
- Marsh, O. C. (1877). New order of extinct Reptilia (Stegosauria) from the Jurassic of the Rocky Mountains. American Journal of Science, 14, 513–514.
- McHenry, C. R. (2009). Devourer of gods: the paleoecology of the Cretaceous pliosaur Kronosaurus queenslandicus. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Newcastle, 635 pp.
- Ostrom, J. H., & McIntosh, J. S. (1966). Marsh’s dinosaurs—the Collections from Como Bluff (2nd ed., 388 pp). New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Papp, M. J., & Witmer, L. (1998). Cheeks, beaks or freaks: A critical appraisal of buccal soft-tissue anatomy in ornithischian dinosaurs. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 18(Suppl. 3), 69A.
- Parrish, J. T., Peterson, F., & Turner, C. E. (2004). Jurassic “savannah”—plant taphonomy and climate of the Morrison Formation (Jurassic western USA). Sedimentary Geology, 167, 139–164. CrossRef
- Rees, J. S., & Hammadeh, M. (2004). Undermining of enamel as a mechanism of abfraction lesion formation: a finite element study. European Journal of Oral Sciences, 112, 347–352. CrossRef
- Snively, E., & Russell, A. P. (2007). Craniocervical feeding dynamics of Tyrannosaurus rex. Paleobiology, 33, 610–638. CrossRef
- Waters, N. E. (1980). Some mechanical and physical properties of teeth. In J. F. V. Vincent & J. D. Currey (Eds.), The mechanical properties of biological materials. Society of Experimental Biology, 34th Symposium. The mechanical properties of biological materials (pp. 99–135). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- A model for the bite mechanics in the herbivorous dinosaur Stegosaurus (Ornithischia, Stegosauridae)
Swiss Journal of Geosciences
Volume 103, Issue 2 , pp 235-240
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- SP Birkhäuser Verlag Basel
- Additional Links
- Morrison Formation
- Finite element (FE)
- Digital plant model
- Industry Sectors
- Miriam Reichel (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2E9, Canada