Dental wear and oral food processing in Caiman latirostris: Analogue for fossil crocodylians with crushing teeth

A. Ősi, Paul M. Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Almost all of the 23 extant species of crocodylians are opportunistic predators that consume their food without extensive intraoral food processing. Posterior bulbous crushing teeth with heavy dental wear in two specimens of Caiman latirostris, however, indicate that oral food processing can be an important factor during feeding. Wear pattern analysis in two specimens of C. latirostris clearly indicates crushing of hard food items that produced large wear surfaces on tooth crowns in the posterior part of the tooth row. This type of wear suggests that the diet was predominantly composed of durable, hard-shelled prey (e.g. molluscs, crustaceans, turtles), a supposition confirmed by recent studies on the stomach contents of several C. latirostris specimens. The absence of similar wear patterns in other ontogenetically mature specimens of C. latirostris, however, indicates that specific, possibly regional differences in food resources might affect the degree and type of dental wear. The dental features we report in C. latirostris can provide an important extant analogue for fossil forms with similar dentitions (e.g. Bernissartia, Unasuchus and globidontan eusuchians).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalNeues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie - Abhandlungen
Volume261
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011

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food processing
crushing
tooth
fossil
food
dentition
stomach content
turtle
mollusc
crustacean
predator
diet
resource

Keywords

  • Behaviour
  • Crocodiles
  • Dental wear
  • Fossil
  • Recent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Palaeontology

Cite this

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