Is this a Dinosaur Tooth?

I found this fossilized tooth in my yard several years ago and I’ve been curious about just what kind of tooth it is ever since. It’s big, about 4 cm x 2.5 cm x 2 cm and it looks to be a tearing or biting tooth. If it were human I’d say it looks like an eye tooth. The bottom edge has been worn down to the dentin and the top end has no attached bone. It’s possible that it was buried in my yard, but it’s more likely that it arrived with a load of rock gravel that we ordered in. I have no idea where that rock originated so I can offer no real clues about its provenance. I know it’s difficult with only a few photographs, but I’m hoping someone out there can tell me a bit more about it.

Mystery fossil side view, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Mystery fossil root end, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Mystery Fossil biting end. ©voyager, all rights reserved



  1. says

    To my (non-expert) eye it might be a dinosaur tooth, but also an aligator or another archosaur. Or a really worn and broken canine tooth. Do you have a museum nearby where you could ask for expert opinion?

  2. Oggie. says

    This is most likely not a dinosaur tooth. Dinosaur teeth are rarely round — they tend to be flattened lingual-labial — except for some sauropods (Brachiosaurid teeth are pegs with a worn angled facet) and piscivorian dinosaurs such as the Spinosaurids. Additionally, the teeth of dinosaurian carnivores tend to be recurved, labial-lingually flattened, and generally have serrations (which may actually reduce the chances of the tooth breaking during violent feeding). This tooth is labial-lingually round, it is not peg-like, and has a coniform shape with a slight recurve but limited to non-existant labial lingual flattening.


    This tooth could be from a Spinosaurid (though they are a very rare theropod). It is far more likely that it is from a Crocodylian. From the size, it would come from a rather large Crocodylian. Additionally, the internal structure of the tooth looks very similar to the teeth of Deinosuchus (D. hatcheri, D. rugosus, or D. riograndensis).

    So, in my opinion (keep in mind I am an historian, though I do read extensively in palaeontology) this is definitely an archosaur tooth, possibly Crocodylian.

  3. avalus says

    In some gravelpits in Germany there are lots of remains of pre-ice age critters to be found, so maybe it’s a bear/cat/thing tooth? I wonder, if it is a tooth at all. It looks similar to fossilized solitary corals.

    What ever it is, it is a beautiful find, rminding us of an ever so distant past!

  4. petern says

    I think that’s actually a fossil coral. I have something that looks very much like it, that I found in a pile of gravel — the bedrock around here was laid down in the Devonian era (380 million years ago) and fossils of early sea life are so common that the neighboring town was named “Coralville”. Here’s a photo of something similar to the fossil I found. You can imagine that with enough abrasion in the gravel-mining process it would look like yours.

  5. kestrel says

    I will vote for coral too… I have seen fossil coral (in museums and in specimen-quality type stores) that look a lot like it.

    But who knows! Maybe you have discovered a new species!

  6. jazzlet says

    Another vote for a coral or something similar. The radial pattern is what made me think coral.

  7. voyager says

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to help me with this. I now have a couple of directions to explore. :D

    The nearest museum that could do that would be The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto, about a 2 hour drive. I might send them an e-mail with these photos. Maybe someone will take the time to answer my question.

    Thanks! That’s a lot of very good information. I’ll point my curiosity in that direction and see what I can find.

    It’s the shape that makes me think it’s a tooth. Well, that plus the internal channels that taper down to the tip. It’s naturally shaped like an eye tooth, but now I see that it’s also shaped like a piece of coral.

    Thanks! I would never have thought about coral, but your photo link does look very similar to my fossil that may not be a tooth at all. I’ll also point my curiosity in this direction.

  8. Oggie. says

    I checked my palaeontology books.

    I think it is a rugose coral. Middle Ordovician to late Permian. Yet another victim of the PT extinction event.

    Sorry for the mis-identification.

    In my defense, though, I was unsupervised at the time.

  9. avalus says

    Thats the name, thank you Oggie!
    Voyager, I am interested what the museum staff will answer, please keep us updated, when you know more.

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