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Tuatara Reptile Slices Food With 'Steak-Knife Teeth'
 
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30-May-2012  
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New Zealand's tuatara has a unique way of chewing its food, say scientists who have studied its jaws in detail.

This beak-headed reptile uses a "steak-knife sawing motion" as it chews.

This could help explain how the species has continued to adapt to a changing world - and changes in available prey - over more than 200 million years.

A computer model of the tuatara, recreating its jaws as it munched on prey, has revealed that it chews like no other land animal.
 





The tuatara's lower jaw slides forward "to slice food apart like a saw"
This seems to allow it to "slice up" food that is too big for its mouth.

In their paper in the journal The Anatomical Record, the researchers describe how the teeth of the tuatara's lower jaw close between two upper rows of teeth "before sliding forward to slice food apart like a draw-cut saw".
 
 
Source: BBC
 
 

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