Did Iguanodon have teeth?

Answered by Edward Huber

Iguanodon did have teeth, but their teeth were not like the sharp, pointed teeth that we typically associate with carnivorous animals. Instead, Iguanodon teeth were adapted for eating plants, as they were herbivores.

The teeth of Iguanodon were unique and well-suited for their plant-based diet. They were not sharp and pointed, but rather more flattened and spoon-shaped. This shape allowed them to effectively grind and crush plant material, making it easier for the Iguanodon to extract nutrients from the tough vegetation they consumed.

Iguanodon teeth were also characterized by distinct ridges and cusps. These features helped to increase the surface area of the teeth, which in turn enhanced the efficiency of grinding and chewing plant matter. The ridges and cusps acted like natural “serrations,” aiding in the breakdown of tough plant fibers.

One interesting feature of Iguanodon teeth is that they were continuously replaced throughout the dinosaur’s lifetime. Much like sharks, Iguanodon had multiple sets of teeth ready to replace any that were worn down or lost. This ensured that they always had functional teeth for efficient plant consumption.

However, despite their specialized teeth for herbivory, Iguanodon possessed another unique adaptation that aided in their feeding. This was the presence of a sharp thumb spike, also known as a thumb spur or thumb spike. This spike was located on the inner side of the Iguanodon’s hand, specifically on the first digit or thumb.

The thumb spike of Iguanodon was quite large and could reach up to 30 centimeters in length. It was curved and pointed, resembling a long, slender horn. This thumb spike was likely used for various purposes, including defense against predators and possibly for gathering food.

In terms of feeding, the thumb spike could have been used to reach high branches or pull down vegetation, allowing the Iguanodon to access food sources that may have been out of reach for other herbivores. It could also have been used to strip leaves and branches from trees, making it easier for the dinosaur to consume plant material.

While Iguanodon did have teeth, they were not sharp or adapted for ripping flesh like those of carnivorous dinosaurs. Instead, Iguanodon’s teeth were specialized for grinding and crushing plant matter, complemented by the presence of a sharp thumb spike that likely aided in feeding and defense.