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Phytosaur tooth fossil, SEM

Phytosaur tooth fossil, SEM

C034/5887

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Credit

STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Phytosaur tooth fossil. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Phytosaurs are an extinct group of large, mostly semi-aquatic Late Triassic archosauriform reptiles. Unlike most crocodilians, phytosaurs have tooth serrations. This seems to suggest that they did not engage in the typical "death rolls" associated with crocodiles and alligators, but probably relied on more typical meat-slicing techniques. Recent studies suggest that phytosaurs evolved before the split between crocodile- and bird-line archosaurs and are the sister taxon of Archosauria. Phytosaurs had a nearly global distribution during the Triassic. Magnification: x35 at 10cm wide.

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