The latest movie in the Jurassic Park franchise debuted last weekend, to lukewarm critical reviews, but outstanding ticket sales. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has earned a total of $715 million globally so far, and will likely earn over $1 billion dollars before it’s through. The movie opened at #1 in 67 of 68 markets where it debuted, including the US (only Venezuela chose Incredibles 2 over its opening weekend).
The sequel definitely fulfills the audience expectation that sequels should be “bigger, louder” and with “more teeth,” as character Claire Dearing describes it in the first film. The sequel seems to be aware of this, with a minor character who collects dinosaur teeth to draw our attention to them.
However, the movie also doesn’t do enough justice to the truly amazing nature of dinosaur teeth, which we’re going to talk about now. (Don’t worry: no spoilers here!)
The Most Teeth Known
One of the most unremarkable dinosaurs ever had some of the most remarkable teeth. Hadrosaurs, commonly known as duck-billed dinosaurs, are kind of like the cows of the dinosaur world. They featured in Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park 2 mostly as background characters via the Parasaurolophus, which has an elaborate crest (described humorously as a pompadour by one character). But these dinosaurs don’t show up in Jurassic World or Fallen Kingdom at all.
Which is a shame from a dental perspective, because these dinosaurs had some pretty amazing teeth. Not only did they have 100s of teeth each, but these teeth were specially evolved to be efficient to produce and effective at chewing.
Unlike most teeth, hadrosaur teeth didn’t have enamel–the hard, white outer coating–all around the outside. Instead, they only had enamel on one side of their teeth, the chewing surface. Hadrosaur teeth also evolved to have no pulp at all. This means they’d never get toothaches and would never need root canal therapy.
The Most Complex Teeth
Although some dinosaurs developed less complex teeth over time, others developed more complex teeth. Although Triceratops is known mostly for its horns and frills, their teeth may actually be their most evolutionarily distinct development.
Studies of the cross-section of their teeth show that they had five layers of tooth structure. That’s compared to the just three layers of tooth structure humans have, and the four that horse, bison, and other herbivorous mammals have.
These distinct layers help the tooth maintain its structure for efficiently cutting and grinding plants. It also helped the teeth resist teeth wear when chewing hard plants.
The Largest Teeth (On Land, at Least)
But the teeth most likely to attract a collector’s attention are the biggest teeth of any land animal. That record is currently held by Tyrannosaurus, whose teeth could be up to 12 inches in length, and several inches in circumference. Not only were these teeth massive, they had innovative structures for resisting powerful bite forces.
That’s because T-rex also had amazing jaws. These jaws were able to open an amazing 80 degrees. That made the space between the jaws an astounding five feet. Some people could walk into T-rex’s mouth without stooping!
And when those jaws closed, they could close with devastating force, delivering about 800 pounds of total force and over 430,000 pounds per square inch at the point of some of its teeth! No wonder the teeth had to be so sturdy!
Trivia: It was in the sequel to the original Jurassic Park, called The Lost World that a T-rex runs amok in San Diego, even eating a family dog.
Are Your Teeth Awesome?
Now, admittedly, none of us have teeth that can rival dinosaur teeth. But that just means we have to do the best with what we have. And at Strober Dental in San Diego, our dentists are dedicated to giving you the best teeth possible.
Your teeth can still be awesome. They can be beautiful, strong, and healthy. Not only that, but we can assess your bite to make sure it’s working properly, delivering force efficiently to teeth and allowing you to open your jaw as wide as it’s supposed to go. We can diagnose and treat TMJ to relieve your symptoms and help you enjoy a pain-free, efficient bite.
To learn more about how we can help you have amazing teeth, too, please call (619) 299-5925 today for an appointment at Strober Dental in San Diego.