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Part of the Dinosaurs: Activities and Lesson Plans Curriculum Collection.
In the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, robotic dinosaur skulls demonstrate how the dental adaptations of plant-eating dinosaurs worked. They show that as teeth wore down, new teeth grew to replace them. Paleontologists can tell a lot from the size of a dinosaur’s skull and from the teeth in it. If the skull has powerful jaws and long, sharp teeth, then the dinosaur was most probably a meat-eater, a carnivore. The teeth were used to rip apart meat. Wide, flat teeth with ridges indicate that the dinosaur was a plant-eater, a herbivore. The teeth were used to mash and grind tough vegetation.
This activity will introduce students to teeth and help them differentiate between the teeth of meat-eaters and plant-eaters.