Computed tomographic analysis of the dental system of three Jurassic ceratopsians and implications for the evolution of tooth replacement pattern and diet in early-diverging ceratopsians

  1. Jinfeng Hu
  2. Catherine A Forster
  3. Xing Xu  Is a corresponding author
  4. Qi Zhao
  5. Yiming He
  6. Fenglu Han  Is a corresponding author
  1. China University of Geosciences, China
  2. The George Washington University, United States
  3. Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Abstract

The dental system of ceratopsids is among the most specialized structure in Dinosauria by the presence of tooth batteries and high-angled wear surfaces. However, the origin of this unique dental system is poorly understood due to a lack of relative knowledge in early-diverging ceratopsians. Here we study the dental system of three earliest-diverging Chinese ceratopsians: Yinlong and Hualianceratops from the early Late Jurassic of Xinjiang and Chaoyangsaurus from the Late Jurassic of Liaoning Province. By micro-computed tomographic analyses, our study has revealed significant new information regarding the dental system, including no more than five replacement teeth in each jaw quadrant; at most one replacement tooth in each alveolus; nearly full resorption of the functional tooth root; and occlusion with low-angled, concave wear facets. Yinlong displays an increase in the number of maxillary alveoli and a decrease in the number of replacement teeth during ontogeny as well as the retention of functional tooth remnants in the largest individual. Chaoyangsaurus and Hualianceratops have slightly more replacement teeth than Yinlong. In general, early-diverging ceratopsians display a relatively slow tooth replacement rate and likely use gastroliths to triturate foodstuffs. The difference in dietary strategy might have influenced the tooth replacement pattern in later-diverging ceratopsians.

Data availability

All data generated or analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and supplementary file. We have uploaded the raw micro-CT scanning images of all scanned specimens (all cropped to the dentigerous regions) in Dryad as .TIF or .BMP file format and also the reconstructed 3D files (see the link https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9ghx3ffk0). The detailed information of all images is provided in a TXT file 'README_file.txt' saved in Dryad.

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jinfeng Hu

    School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9237-9756
  2. Catherine A Forster

    Department of Biological Sciences, The George Washington University, Washington, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Xing Xu

    Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    For correspondence
    xu.xing@ivpp.ac.cn
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-4786-9948
  4. Qi Zhao

    Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Yiming He

    Nanjiang Museum of Paleontology, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Fenglu Han

    School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
    For correspondence
    hanfl@cug.edu.cn
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3399-4008

Funding

National Natural Science Foundation of China (41972021)

  • Fenglu Han

National Natural Science Foundation of China (41688103)

  • Xing Xu

National Natural Science Foundation of China (42072008)

  • Qi Zhao

International Partnership Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (132311KYSB20180016)

  • Xing Xu

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Yonatan Sahle, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Version history

  1. Received: December 29, 2021
  2. Preprint posted: January 19, 2022 (view preprint)
  3. Accepted: April 19, 2022
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: April 20, 2022 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: May 4, 2022 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2022, Hu et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

Metrics

  • 1,087
    views
  • 250
    downloads
  • 2
    citations

Views, downloads and citations are aggregated across all versions of this paper published by eLife.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

  1. Jinfeng Hu
  2. Catherine A Forster
  3. Xing Xu
  4. Qi Zhao
  5. Yiming He
  6. Fenglu Han
(2022)
Computed tomographic analysis of the dental system of three Jurassic ceratopsians and implications for the evolution of tooth replacement pattern and diet in early-diverging ceratopsians
eLife 11:e76676.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.76676

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.76676

Further reading

    1. Evolutionary Biology
    Isabella Tomanek
    Insight

    Laboratory experiments on a fluorescent protein in E. coli reveal how duplicate genes are rapidly inactivated by mutations during evolution.

    1. Evolutionary Biology
    Maryline Blin, Louis Valay ... Sylvie Rétaux
    Research Article

    Animals are adapted to their natural habitats and lifestyles. Their brains perceive the external world via their sensory systems, compute information together with that of internal states and autonomous activity, and generate appropriate behavioral outputs. However, how do these processes evolve across evolution? Here, focusing on the sense of olfaction, we have studied the evolution in olfactory sensitivity, preferences, and behavioral responses to six different food-related amino acid odors in the two eco-morphs of the fish Astyanax mexicanus. To this end, we have developed a high-throughput behavioral setup and pipeline of quantitative and qualitative behavior analysis, and we have tested 489 six-week-old Astyanax larvae. The blind, dark-adapted morphs of the species showed markedly distinct basal swimming patterns and behavioral responses to odors, higher olfactory sensitivity, and a strong preference for alanine, as compared to their river-dwelling eyed conspecifics. In addition, we discovered that fish have an individual ‘swimming personality’, and that this personality influences their capability to respond efficiently to odors and find the source. Importantly, the personality traits that favored significant responses to odors were different in surface fish and cavefish. Moreover, the responses displayed by second-generation cave × surface F2 hybrids suggested that olfactory-driven behavior and olfactory sensitivity is a quantitative genetic trait. Our findings show that olfactory processing has rapidly evolved in cavefish at several levels: detection threshold, odor preference, and foraging behavior strategy. Cavefish is therefore an outstanding model to understand the genetic, molecular, and neurophysiological basis of sensory specialization in response to environmental change.