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212 Views 1 Reply Last post: Jul 12, 2014 3:34 PM by MikeHardman RSS
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Jul 12, 2014 11:51 AM

Are these Dinosaur Teeth or Flints?

I was shown these by a friend who's daugther thinks they are dinosaur teeth. I think they might be flints. Would love some more information.

Thanks

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    Jul 12, 2014 3:34 PM (in response to HTrub88)
    Re: Are these Dinosaur Teeth or Flints?

    Flints come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and humans just can't help but attach significance to some of these shapes. They often get it wrong; we can get led astray our experience and intuition, and hope!

     

    Your specimens are indeed flint, most probably Cretaceous in age. In principle, since dinosaurs were around at the time, fossils of dino teeth could be made of flint. But that would be very unusual. From the way flint forms, the only type of flint teeth would be casts (where the original tooth left a cavity that was later filled with a pre-flint silica). That is unlikely partly because of the environment: flints form in chalk, and the warm shallow seas where chalk forms are not the sort of places dinosaurs would hang out - there would be little suitable food there.

    Note:

    - dinosaurs do occur in chalk; they are just unusual; here's an example

    - dino teeth can be made of silica, but that happens by replacement; such silica is not flint

     

    Looking at your specimens in particular:

    - the dark interior and white chalky-looking rind are typical of flint

    - they are too irregular in overall shape for dino teeth (though some dino peg-teeth are somewhat irregular)

    - they lack ornamentation (dino teeth often have striations and/or serrations; though those can get worn off)

    - the lack of ornamentation and less-regular shape is similar to some roots of dino teeth, but still not right

    - they are not right for dino claws (similar issues)

    - they look right for filled burrows - a common mode of occurrence of flint

     

    So I am sure your specimens are flint burrow-fillings, not dino teeth.

     

     

    Some more snippets that may be of interest...

     

    This sort of question arises quite often, here's another example (you are not alone!)

    - http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/thread/3506

     

    Here's an interesting short video about dino teeth from the Cretaceous of the Washington area, USA

    - http://www.mnh.si.edu/exhibits/backyard-dinosaurs/video-teeth.cfm

     

    Here's a simple guide to the basic dino teeth ID

    - http://www.dinowight.org.uk/teeth.html

     

    Mike

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