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The world’s oldest toothache

Evidence of what could be the world’s oldest toothache has been identified after analyzing the skull of a 275 million year old reptile found in Oklahoma.

The find predates the previous record-holder (another land vertebrate with dental disease) by nearly 200 million years. The newly discovered tooth infection may have been the result of animals adapting to life on land after living in the sea for so long.

“Not only does this fossil extend our understanding of dental disease, it reveals the advantages and disadvantages that certain creatures faced as their teeth evolved to feed on both meat and plants,” said lead researcher Robert Reisz, a biologist at the University of Toronto Mississauga. “In this case, as with humans, it may have increased their susceptibility to oral infections.”

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Story: Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience | Photo: Diane Scott

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