HomeDinosaurWhat Dinosaur has 500 teeth and Why? (Facts about Nigersaurus)

What Dinosaur has 500 teeth and Why? (Facts about Nigersaurus)

In response to sick Reddit users making a racist joke go viral, Internet users are being warned not to fall for a “Don’t google which dinosaur had 500 teeth” prank.

Social media has spread the message and one of the autofill suggestions appears on Google. 

The Nigersaurus had a wide mouth lined with 500 slender teeth.

Nigersaurus: Facts and Figures

Name: Nigersaurus (Greek for “Niger lizard”); pronounced NYE-jer-SORE-usNamed By: Sereno,‭ ‬Beck,‭ ‬Dutheil,‭ ‬Larsson,‭ ‬Lyon,‭ ‬Moussa,‭ ‬Sadleir,‭ ‬Sidor,‭ ‬Varricchio,‭ ‬G.P.‭ ‬Wilson and J.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Wilson‭ ‬-‭ ‬1999
Classification: Saurischia,‭ ‬Sauropodomorpha,‭ ‬Sauropoda,‭ ‬Diplodocidae,‭ ‬Rebbachisauridae.
Species: N.‭ ‬taqueti (Type).
Habitat: Africa,‭ ‬Niger,‭ ‬Elrhaz Formation
Historical Period: Early Cretaceous (110 million years ago)
Size and Weight: About 30 feet long and five tons
Diet: Plants
Distinguishing Characteristics: Relatively short neck; hundreds of teeth in wide jaws
Time period: Aptian or Albian of the Cretaceous.

What is the Meaning of Nigersaurus?

One of the oldest dinosaurs ever discovered, Nigersaurus means “Niger’s Lizard” or “Niger reptile”. Nigersaurus was a 30-foot-long plant-eating dinosaur. Basically, it is a genus of sauropod dinosaurs that looks like Diplodocus. Around 119 million years ago, during the Aptian or Albian age, it lived during the middle Cretaceous period.

A fossil vertebrate named Gadoufaoua, in Niger was found in the Elrhaz Formation’s rich fossil fauna. In 1976, fossils of this dinosaur were described, but more complete remains were found and described only in 1999.

The first remains of Nigersaurus taqueria were discovered by French paleontologist Philippe Taquet, who named the genus after him.

Nigersaurus Dinosaur Skull and their Postures:

Feeding was a very specialized function of its skull. A thin skull, four large side fenestrae, and openings in its sides characterized this animal. There were more than 500 teeth in its wide muzzle, which were replaced every 14 days. It is possible that the jaws had a keratinous sheath, similar to a wide beak.
Only Nigersaurus is known to have had jaws wider than its skull and teeth extending laterally across its front. There may have been a 20–30% difference in the size of the upper jaw’s teeth compared to the lower jaw’s teeth.
Throughout the jaw, there were nine replacement teeth under each active tooth. Over 500 active and replacement teeth were contained in these so-called dental batteries, with 68 columns in the upper jaws and 60 columns in the lower jaws.
There was ten times more enamel on the outward-facing side of the teeth of Nigersaurus than on the inner side.

What was the Size of the Nigersaurus Dinosaur?

Nigersaurus

Nigersaurus had a prominent tail and a small head like all sauropods. Its body length was only 9 meters (30 feet), and its femurs were only 1 meter (3 feet 3 inches) long.

Weight of Nigersaurus Dinosaur:

According to some estimates, it may have weighed around 4 tons (4.4 short tons), comparable to the weight of a modern elephant. With thirteen cervical vertebrae, it had a short neck for a sauropod.

The majority of rebbachisaurids had short necks and a length of less than 10 m (33 ft). Rebbachisaurus was the only member of the family that grew large enough to compete with larger sauropods.

The 500 Teeth of  Nigersaurus Dinosaur

It has been an amazing first week on the field! Every dune seems to hold a surprising discovery. A long-necked dinosaur named Nigersaurus was discovered on our first day. We named Nigersaurus after bones collected on the last expedition here three years ago. There are as many as 500 slender teeth in the skull of this sauropod (long-necked dinosaur).

Nigersaurus: The 'Mesozoic Cow' With More Than 500 Teeth | HowStuffWorks
In order to describe and reconstruct this unusual dinosaur, we must find the rest of it.
After discovering a skeleton a few days later, we are getting close to that goal! The tail of this skeleton curves upward as it lies on its side. There are about 15 feet of the curve on the backbone. A 110 million-year-old skeleton was carefully dug up and the sand was brushed off. Each area of the skeleton will soon be plastered so it can be transported back to the lab.
That’s not all Nigersaurus has to offer. A baby Nigersaurus whose upper jaw could fit on top of a silver dollar was discovered by Chris in a flat area of purple-colored sandstone! Probably not more than one year after hatching, this Nigersaurus died and was fossilized.

The Hype of Nigersaurus on Social Media & Reddit:

When people search for the question, they find the Nigersaurus. Social media platforms, primarily Reddit, have shared the joke-turned-meme. Unsuspecting internet users are being shocked by juvenile jokers claiming the name is similar to the N-word. It first appeared in September 2019 that the warning against searching had begun to circulate.
/r/teenagers user posted in /r/teenagers: “Don’t Google ‘dinosaur with 500 teeth’.” The account has since been deleted.

A countless number of memes have been created since then, with captions such as “don’t google dinosaurs with 500 teeth. the Worst mistake ever”.

In some cases, the meme has been used in conjunction with a racial slur, such as the comment “OK dinosaur with 500 teeth.”.

However, its name refers to the country in which it was discovered, the Republic of Niger.
A dinosaur fossil was first discovered in 1976 in this landlocked country of West Africa.
Nigersaurus taqueria was given its name after more complete remains were discovered in 1999 during expeditions led by American paleontologist Paul Sereno.

In 1976, the first remains of the species were found by French paleontologist Philippe Taquet under the generic name Nigersaurus, meaning “Niger reptile”.

An area called Gadoufaua in Niger was found to contain this fossil in the Elrhaz Formation.
During the Cretaceous period about 115 to 105 million years ago, Nigersaurus was a rebbachisaurid sauropod dinosaur.

In the region that is now the Sahara Desert, the herbivore would have roamed the lush swamps. Specially adapted for browsing low-growing plants, it had a delicate, unusual skull and a wide mouth lined with 500 slender teeth.

According to Sereno’s website, “Nigersaurus lived alongside predatory dinosaurs suchomimus and ouranosaurus, plant-eating dinosaurs ouranosaurus and lurdusaurus, and supercroc.”.

There are more than 500 replaceable teeth on the muzzle of this bizarre, long-necked dinosaur. Digital reconstructions of dinosaur skulls from CT scans have been made for the first time for the fossil skull of Nigersaurus. Washington DC’s National Geographic Museum unveiled the reconstructed skeleton of the Nigersaurus in November 2007.

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Melissa Edwards
Melissa Edwards
Hi, I'm Melissa Edwards a former writer and coach at Triple Gems, a certified school counselor, and a former educator. I have written more than a dozen articles for Triple Gems. Throughout my career, I have worked with youth and families in private homes, residential group homes, and schools.

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