The dentition of megalosaurid theropods

Christophe Hendrickx, Octávio Mateus, Ricardo Araújo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Theropod teeth are particularly abundant in the fossil record and frequently reported in the literature. Yet, the dentition of many theropods has not been described comprehensively, omitting details on the denticle shape, crown ornamentations and enamel texture. This paucity of information has been particularly striking in basal clades, thus making identification of isolated teeth difficult, and taxonomic assignments uncertain. We here provide a detailed description of the dentition of Megalosauridae, and a comparison to and distinction from superficially similar teeth of all major theropod clades. Megalosaurid dinosaurs are characterized by a mesial carina facing mesiolabially in mesial teeth, centrally positioned carinae on both mesial and lateral crowns, a mesial carina terminating above the cervix, and short to well-developed interdenticular sulci between distal denticles. A discriminant analysis performed on a dataset of numerical data collected on the teeth of 62 theropod taxa reveals that megalosaurid teeth are hardly distinguishable from other theropod clades with ziphodont dentition. This study highlights the importance of detailing anatomical descriptions and providing additional morphometric data on teeth with the purpose of helping to identify isolated theropod teeth in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-642
Number of pages16
JournalActa Palaeontologica Polonica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • dentition
  • Megalosauridae
  • morphometry
  • teeth
  • Tetanurae
  • Theropoda


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