Dinosaurs under the big sky

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Triceratops Jaw Section

TC: n/a

Contents: two brown resin replica jaw section pieces

The main purpose of the upper and lower jaw section replicas is to be able to show how the teeth come together in chewing. Ceratopsian teeth meet at an almost vertical angle and slice food like a pair of scissors. The wear pattern (chewing surface) indicates a slashing like motion rather than a grinding motion. This method of chewing is considered to be inefficient.

  • Hand visitors both sections and ask them to demonstrate how they think the dinosaur chewed. What kind of food did the ceratopsians eat? Do your teeth work the same way? What kinds of food would be difficult to eat with teeth like this?

  • Compare the ceratopsian occlusion with the hadrosaur occlusion. How is the occlusion similar/different? How are the teeth batteries similar/different?

  • Have visitors try to recognize individual teeth in the lower jaw section. How did the teeth fit together?

  • Have visitors take a close look at ceratopsian skulls in the exhibit. Which way do the jaws face? Which is the top/bottom/outside/inside?

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