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September 13, 2008 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Two-hundred -and-forty million years ago, a recently-discovered amphibian hunted with a special feature: teeth in the roof of the mouth.

Found in modern-day Antarctica, the fossil of this possible relative to the modern-day salamander resembles something more akin to a crocodile. Meet Kryostega collinsoni.
posted by bonobo (11 comments total)

 
I once knew a kid like this. The trait gave him no evolutionary advantage.
posted by Tullius at 8:24 PM on September 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I didn't see anything about whether there were opposing teeth in the floor of the mouth - which would be pretty weird, requiring holes in the tongue - but if they weren't opposed, it doesn't seem like they'd do much good. Maybe keep prey from squirming out of the mouth, but those enormous normal teeth should have done the job pretty well by themselves.

Oh well, this feature doesn't seem to have been selected for by evolution anyway. Guess it was more of a bug.
posted by Quietgal at 8:56 PM on September 13, 2008


So that's who they're making that insanely hot pizza for. Huh.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:41 PM on September 13, 2008


I theorize Kryostega collinsoni went extinct by failing to properly adapt to the dangers of peanut butter.
posted by bonobo at 9:55 PM on September 13, 2008


Oh well, this feature doesn't seem to have been selected for by evolution anyway. Guess it was more of a bug.

Actually, they're called vomerine teeth and they still exist in frogs, though in a nearly-vestigial form. The point was not to chew, but to help the animal to swallow its prey whole. More info here.
posted by lekvar at 9:59 PM on September 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


My colleagues at Liberty University assure me that that fossil is no more than 6 weeks old
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:49 PM on September 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


theres a model of one of these guys (or a close relative) in the nat history museum in NYC (that first pic on the first link is it, i think)...
srsly, that critter looked more like a muppet than anything that's ever lived...like a gator made of foam.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:05 AM on September 14, 2008


The modern Anaconda has a second set of jaws in its upper palate to help swallow prey. Pretty freaky.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:22 AM on September 14, 2008


Slap*Happy, I see your anaconda and raise you a moray eel. Do not miss the movie linked towards the end, unless you plan on, say, sleeping ever again.
posted by No-sword at 7:08 AM on September 14, 2008


And I could say oo oo oo
As if everybody knows
What Im talking about
As if everybody would know
Exactly what I was talking about—
Talking about big teeth on the roof of her mouth
posted by languagehat at 7:42 AM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


That fossil has been inspected by the independent sources in Alaska and determined to be 3,999 years old.*

*Give or take a presidency.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:22 PM on September 15, 2008


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