Fossils are doing just fine, but the scientists who interpret them are having a rough week (or century).


It looks like a dinosaur in a scary Halloween costume, but it’s just a nice little guy that ate vegetables, Science Daily announced: “New Fanged Dwarf Dinosaur from Africa Ate Plants.”  Live Science even identified the costume: “‘Dracula’ Dinosaur Had Bristles and Fangs.”  Sure enough, the artist gave it the scariest demeanor possible.  Trick or treat: toss it a radish.  Even with scary fangs, Pegomastax africanus, found in South Africa 50 years ago but “languished in a museum drawer” till recently, was apparently a vegetarian.  This goes to show one can’t always tell carnivory by the teeth.

It was small, too, weighing less than a house cat.  National Geographic said, “New Fanged Dwarf Dinosaur Found—‘Would Be Nice Pet’.”  Paleontologists think it might have used its porcupine-like bristles and fangs for defense or display, but mostly the teeth and jaws worked like “self-sharpening scissors for shearing plant parts.”  Live Science promised the little critter “may shed light on evolution,” but didn’t say exactly how; neither did Science Now.  Evolutionary paleontologist Paul Sereno [U of Chicago] ventured some light in National Geographic’s article:  “What’s more, the study revealed that P. africanus’ sophisticated jaw structure was ahead of its time, Sereno noted. Such structures evolved again millions of years later in mammals.”  Sereno did not point out where his light was shining.


Speaking of vegetarians (and speaking of animals ahead of their time), evolutionists now say that duckbill dinosaurs were better equipped for eating plants than horses are (sidebar: grazing mammals supposedly evolved much later).  Charles Choi reported on Live Science that “Vegetarian Dinosaurs Were Champion Chompers.”  He began, “Giant plant-eating dinosaurs may have been champion chewers up there with the likes of mammals such as horses, bison or elephants, researchers say.”  Some hadrosaurs had 1400 teeth with flat, grinding surfaces perfect for grinding tough plants – and they could replace them when they wore out.  Their teeth were composed of six types of tissue that migrated, “exposing different surfaces as the teeth migrated across the chewing surfaces in the mouths of the dinosaurs over time.”  With teeth like that, “The finding could help explain why these behemoths dominated the plains of Europe, Asia and North America during the last part of the age of dinosaurs,” Choi speculated.

Hadrosaurs were “as sophisticated, if not more sophisticated, than any known mammal,” one paleontologist said.  This makes it sound like evolution has been going downhill.  They thought dinosaur teeth would resemble those of other reptiles, like alligators, but found something quite different.  “The complexity of hadrosaurid teeth would have proved excellent tools for handling tough, gritty plants,” but can we trust their opinions?  Evolutionists can look a gift horse in the mouth, but “We still don’t have a good understanding even of how horse teeth work,” one of them confessed.  PhysOrg posted a cross-section of the “remarkably complex architecture” of one tooth of a hadrosaur (Edmontosaurus).  Six tissues is four more than reptiles have, and two more than horses.  Some of the tissues apparently functioned to prevent cavities and abscesses.  Not even vegan humans can boast that evolutionary innovation.

One more thing.  These teeth avoided decay for a long, long time, in their view.  “We were stunned to find that the mechanical properties of the teeth were preserved after 70 million years of fossilization,” Gregory Erickson on Mark Norell’s team said; “if you put these teeth back into a living dinosaur they would function perfectly.”…

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