A Vegetarian Dinosaur's Big Mouth

on October 6, 2007
Featured in News to Know

Researchers are confused as to what a giant, duck-billed, many-toothed dinosaur would eat.

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Trips to the dentist might have been out of the question for the 800-toothed Gryposaurus monumentensis, a two-legged dinosaur discovered in Utah in 2004. The dinosaur’s 800 teeth lined a “very large, strong jaw and beak,” explains the Utah Museum of Natural History’s Terry Gates, one of the authors in a recent Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society study of the creature.

Gryposaurus is the “Arnold Schwarzenegger of duckbilled dinosaurs,” adds Scott Sampson, another Utah Museum paleontologist who contributed to the study. In addition to the dinosaur’s “powerful, strengthened jaw,” it boasted a length of more than 30 ft (10 m).

Frightening as it may sound, though, the scientists describe Gryposaurus as a “very formidable plant eater that “could have sliced through large amounts of fibrous or woody plant material.” However, the researchers are not entirely certain what the dinosaur’s diet was:

“We just don’t know what this dinosaur ate,” [Gates] said.

But whilst the food preferences of the toothy Gryposaurus monumentensis remain a mystery, the diet of other creatures alive at the time do not.

Interestingly, this brings to mind the attacks evolutionists (and compromisers) levy against the Bible’s teaching that all animals were created as vegetarian (Genesis 1:30). Often, animals whose jaws and teeth appear to be suited for eating meat are instead mostly or exclusively plant-eaters, as in the case of the giant panda and certain types of bats and bears; here, the toothy, powerful-jawed Gryposaurus has been categorized as plant eating as well, based on its genus (although its diet is unknown). The argument that certain creatures, such as T. rex, just “couldn’t have been” vegetarian before the Fall is contradicted by creatures we know are plant eating, despite teeth and jaws that appear ferocious. Furthermore, our current uncertainty about what Gryposaurus ate is a refreshingly candid admission that it is difficult/many times impossible to know exactly what happened in the past (particularly what animals ate in Eden) without relying on an eyewitness (which we have in God’s Word: the Creator).

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