Shape of Penis Worms' Teeth Discovered
Penis Worms had "cheese grater" like teeth, scientists have found.
New research from fossils reveals that the carnivorous Penis Worm or "Ottoia," were frightening and efficient predators that had the ability to turn their mouths inside out. Once flipped, the Penis Worm would catch prey with "cheese grater" teeth that lined its throat.
After using high-powered microscopes to examine 500-million-year-old fossils, scientists were able to find out more about the Penis Worm's anatomy.
Further analysis revealed that their teeth, which were less than a millimeter in size, were lined with a scaly base and were fringed with tiny spikes and hairs.
The latest findings are important because they can help identify numerous previously unrecognized Penis Worm species worldwide.
"Taken together, our study has allowed us to compile a 'dentist's handbook' that will help paleontologists recognize a range of early teeth preserved in the fossil record," lead researcher Dr. Martin Smith said in a news release.
The findings are published in the journal Palaeontology.