What can fossil teeth tell us?
Teeth from more recent fossils reveal more because they have more isotopes preserved in them. For example, the nitrogen in the teeth of Neanderthals can reveal whether the protein they ate came from plants or animals.
What kind of fossils are teeth?
Explain that animals’ teeth are made up of a hard outer layer called enamel, which stands the test of time much better than soft body parts, allowing teeth to be preserved in the fossil record. In fact, teeth are THE most common vertebrate fossil in the rock record.
Why are teeth important to study in the hominid fossil record?
Everything from the tooth’s shape to its enamel thickness tells researchers something about the human whose mouth the tooth once inhabited: what they ate, where they lived, what diseases they had.
What can paleontologists learn from fossil teeth?
4 Anatomical similarities and differences between various organisms living today and between them and organisms in the fossil record, enable the reconstruction of evolutionary history and the inference of lines of evolutionary descent.
What can fossil teeth tell us about extinct animals?
By looking at the teeth of extinct animals, scientists are able to determine their diet. When fossils with long pointed teeth are found, scientists know that the animal was a carnivore (animals that eat meat). If a fossil with flat, smooth teeth is found, the animal is likely a herbivore (animals that eat plants).
What do fossilized animal teeth look like?
The exterior surfaces of most fossil teeth are smooth, and may have a polished appearance. Some teeth are sharp and serrated. Others are not. Reptile and fish teeth tend to be sharp, and often triangular to cone-shaped.
What can archaeologists learn from teeth?
A person’s age at the time of their death and genetic information can be identified through studying fossilized teeth and human remains. The size, shape, growth, and placement of teeth within the skull can help scientists to determine a person’s age when they died.