Navigation Links
Reptilian root canal: U of T Mississauga study reveals infection in jaw of ancient fossil
Date:4/18/2011

A reptile that lived 275-million years ago in what is now Oklahoma is giving paleontologists a glimpse of the oldest known toothache.

Led by Professor Robert Reisz, the chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga, scientists found evidence of bone damage due to oral infection in Paleozoic reptiles as they adapted to living on land. Their findings, published online in the journal Naturwissenschaften The Nature of Science, predate the previous record for oral and dental disease in a terrestrial vertebrate by nearly 200 million years.

"Not only does this fossil extend our understanding of dental disease, it reveals the advantages and disadvantages that certain creatures faced as their teeth evolved to feed on both meat and plants," says Reisz. "In this case, as with humans, it may have increased their susceptibility to oral infections."

The researchers investigated the jaws of several well-preserved specimens of Labidosaurus hamatus, a 275-million-year-old terrestrial reptile from North America. One specimen stood out because of missing teeth and associated erosion of the jaw bone. With the aid of CT-scanning, Reisz and colleagues found evidence of a massive infection. This resulted in the loss of several teeth, as well as bone destruction in the jaw in the form of an abscess and internal loss of bone tissue.

As the ancestors of advanced reptiles adapted to life on land, many evolved dental and cranial specializations to feed more efficiently on other animals and to incorporate high-fiber plant leaves and stems into their diet. The primitive dental pattern in which teeth were loosely attached to the jaws and continuously replaced, changed in some animals. Teeth became strongly attached to the jaw, with little or no tooth replacement. This was clearly advantageous to some early reptiles, allowing them to chew their food and thus improve nutrient absorption. The abundance and global distribution of Labidosauris and its kin suggest that it was an evolutionary success.

However, Reisz and his colleagues suggest that as this reptile lost the ability to replace teeth, the likelihood of infections of the jaw, resulting from damage to the teeth, increased substantially. This is because prolonged exposure of the dental pulp cavity of heavily worn or damaged teeth to oral bacteria was much greater than in other animals that quickly replaced their teeth.

Reisz notes that human susceptibility to oral infection has some parallels to those of ancient reptiles that evolved to eat a diet incorporating plants in addition to meat. "Our findings suggest that our own human system of having just two sets of teeth, baby and permanent, although of obvious advantage because of its ability to chew and process many different types of food, is more susceptible to infection than that of our distant ancestors that had a continuous cycle of tooth replacement."


'/>"/>

Contact: Nicolle Wahl
nicolle.wahl@utoronto.ca
905-569-4656
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Mississauga teacher awarded prize for excellence in teaching genomics
2. Disrupting a destructive duo: U of T Mississauga researchers inhibit cancer proteins
3. Nationwide study finds US meat and poultry is widely contaminated
4. New study finds stronger regulations of in vitro fertilization may save lives
5. Study: Algae could replace 17 percent of US oil imports
6. Scots carbon emissions could be halved in decades, study suggests
7. Alcohol helps the brain remember, says new study
8. Study provides new way to classify E. coli bacteria and test for fecal contamination
9. UNC study helps clarify link between high-fat diet and type 2 diabetes
10. Clinical study suggests estrogen levels and breast health can be altered
11. New genetic study helps to solve Darwins mystery about the ancient evolution of flowering plants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Reptilian root canal: U of T Mississauga study reveals infection in jaw of ancient fossil
(Date:4/18/2017)...  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing ... M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing ... Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer ... Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - ... to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... BROOKLYN, N.Y. , April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... identical fingerprints, but researchers at the New York ... University College of Engineering have found that partial ... fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and ... previously thought. The vulnerability lies in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Today, 3Bar Biologics Inc ., the ... funding from an impressive group of investors, including Rev1 Ventures, Maumee Ventures, Ohio ... investment, 3Bar is broadening availability of its groundbreaking offering that uses naturally occurring ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... , Aug. 15, 2017 After spending the past ... support with crowdsourced data collection, GeneFo now offers this platform to ... aligning and amplifying support, adherence, and data collection vis a vis ... foundations mark the successful launch of this offer. ... GeneFo ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... MA (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2017 , ... Any ... need that has compromised these disciplines for more than half a century. Despite ... be counted. It is widely known that molecular tags developed for this purpose ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... , ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... shopping cart. Now mobile responsive, the new website makes it easy to navigate ... in between. Users can now find detailed product information, educational industry content and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: