Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ptergyoid, my Ptergyoid

Ptergyoids are really gnarly bones, part of the skull making up the hard palate, stretching from the front part of the snout back to the brain case. We already had one, found unrecognized and scanned as two separate bones. I probably broke it handling it and thought they were two bones. Luckily Eric Meitz in Alaska recognized that the two bones were actually two parts of the same bone.

So I have just found another one - entire and unbroken. And even better than the last one, all the sharp little teeth in the palate were unbroken. They are very cute, and so small that I decided that I would not completely remove all the matrix around them. Instead, I left some matrix to provide support and revealed just the side. Since these teeth are only a few mm long, they could not have been used to break shells or bones. They would have been just fine to grasp squirming worms, fish or tentacles, however.

This ptergyoid is about 2.5cm (1 inch) larger than the other. Perfectly understandable, given we have so many animals here.

Here is a view of the ventral side (underside) which would have been the under side of the upper hard palate. The front would be on the left, the right extends out to the braincase.

Here are the teeth, enlarged. The ruler markings are millimeters. 

Here is the upper side of the same bone. It sure is gnarly, twisted and beautiful! Check out the slot in the middle - it is very deep, going about 2/3rds of the way through bone. What could possible be the use of this? I certainly don't know.

And check out this beautiful ptergyoid from a mosasaur! Reeeely big teeth!

Sincerely, Greg Carr