Scientists discover that the Megalosaurus fossil from Oxford University’s Natural History Museum, has five teeth that were previously unseen. Some were still growing from within the jaw and some were old ones that were worn out.

The Discovery

Using an advanced scanning technology, researchers at Warwick University have found five new teeth on the Megalosaurus fossil at Oxford University’s Natural History Museum that they previously did not know it had. The technology used was from automotive and aerospace engineering, according to Mark Williams, who helped conduct the research.

Williams said he took over 3,000 X-ray photos of the Megalosaurus’ jawbone in order to create a 3D image of it. He then said that the images let him see inside the jawbone for the first time. He could then trace the teeth’s roots. Apparently, the animal’s teeth were growing deep within its jaw right before it died. There were also some old and worn out teeth there.

Williams suggested that a museum assistant may have done some restoration work from 1927 to 1931, in order to prepare the fossil for display. He was able to see the extent of the teeth’s repairs at the Natural History Museum. The scans revealed that there might have been over two repair phases. However, there are no known details regarding the extent of the repairs nor the materials that were used to repair them.

Williams On the Discovery

“The scans have revealed previously unseen teeth that were growing deep within the jaw before the animal died – including the remains of old, worn teeth and also tiny newly-growing teeth.” he said.

“Being able to use state-of-the-art technology to scan such a rare and iconic natural history specimen was a fantastic opportunity.”

“When I was growing up I was fascinated with dinosaurs and clearly remember seeing pictures of the Megalosaurus jaw in books that I read.

“Having access to and scanning the real thing was an incredible experience.”

He said these scans could help Oxford University’s Natural History Museum make more accurate decisions regarding the restoration of fossils.

The Megalosaurus

The Megalosaurus is a genius of theropod dinosaurs and is one of the world’s first dinosaurs ever. The name “Megalosaurus” literally means “Great Lizard.” It was a carnivorous dinosaur that lived over 167m years ago in the Mid-Jurassic era in what is now Europe. This particular dinosaur would have been 9 meters in length and would have weight 1400 kilos.

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