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Phytosaur Tooth - SOLD 2.67cm

Phytosaur Tooth - SOLD 2.67cm

In the early Mesozoic era, dinosaurs walked the Earth and heavy ferns covered the land in a hot climate, but one familiar danger lurked at the water’s edge: the ancient Phytosaur. This monstrous reptile was an early aquatic predator that struck with terrifying speed and power at anything unfortunate enough to cross its feeding grounds. While it resembled a modern crocodile, the phytosaur is far older and perhaps more frightening than the aquatic reptiles we know today.

This specimen is an individual phytosaur tooth measuring 2.67cm in length. This particular specimen was uncovered from the Redonda formation in New Mexico. It is roughly 210,000,000 years old. Redondasaurus is the primary genus found in the area. These creatures were some of the most evolutionarily advanced members of the phytosaur family.

 

Please Note: Triassic material of this quality is extremely rare. Teeth will vary in color, condition, and shape. Some may have visible cracks or other wear. Images on this page are representative of the types of teeth you can expect. Keep in mind that they are some of the oldest teeth in our entire collection.

Emerging in the Triassic period, the phytosaur was an enormous semi-aquatic reptile, identifiable from their long snouts and scute-armored bodies. This heavy armor protected them from other predators, while their massive jaws secured prey with a powerful bite. Phytosaurs were huge creatures, with some species growing over 20 feet long. This could put them toe to toe with most dinosaurs of the time.


The phytosaur’s teeth varied from species to species, indicating a difference in diet among the creatures. Some had long conical teeth which helped to catch fish and other marine animals. Others had shorter snouts and serrated fangs which cut like blades through the flesh of terrestrial creatures that came to their lakes to drink. Their leg structures also gave some hint to their behavior, with terrestrial feeders having more developed limbs and marine phytosaurs gaining an almost paddle-like adaptation to move through the water.

The Triassic extinction brought about the end of most phytosaur species, with any survivors not making it much further. Their niche as aquatic ambush predators wouldn’t go unfilled though, as creatures like the Spinosaurus and eventually modern crocodilians adapted to survive on the same brutal lifestyle as their ancient predecessor.

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