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Need help identifying dinosaur tooth


Found this petrified tooth in a riverbed in Iowa, was wondering if anyone knew what dinosaur it might have came from?

Thanks for any help,


This sounds like a job to @Dalek62771


It’s definitely from an herbivore, that much I can tell right off. As to whether or not it’s from a dinosaur or cenozoic mammal, I couldn’t tell you for sure.

One thing I do know is that your state was underwater during much of the Mesozoic, part of the Western inland Sea. So if I had to guess based on the size of the tooth alone, I’d say it’s more likely to be a Mastodon tooth. Not a dinosaur, but still big.


The pointy end isn’t the crown. That’s the root. The crown shows the most wear in any tooth, so the flatter end would be the crown.

Looks like a molar of some sort.

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Thanks Dale for your answer. You are right, not many dinosaur fossils have been found in this State because of it being under water then. But what throws me is the shape of the tooth being more like a meat eater than a plant eater. Unless I have it upside down like You have suggested that It could be the case, I just don’t know enough.


Actually yeah, most people who haven’t had too much experience with fossil hunting tend to see the pointy end as the tip. But it’s cool. Now you know, and the important thing is to keep learning more about comparative anatomy, as well as Paleontology in general. I’ve been at this for 40 years as a hobby, and there’s still a lot of stuff I get blindsided by.


Oh, and it’s Dalek, not “Dale”. LOL


Sorry thanks for letting me know. There has been Mastodon bones found in the area so that just may be it.


Cenozoic remains are easier to locate, especially in the area around the Midwest. We were all mostly underwater during the Mesozoic, but east of the Appalachian mountains, there have been some dinosaurs found - even as far south as Alabama.

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But it’s cool. Now you know, and the important thing is to keep learning more :+1:


I have searched the internet for pictures of Mastodon teeth and not one look like this tooth. It must be another mammal other than a Mastodon.

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I don’t think it’s a mastodon tooth… it’s too small and like you said the crown is flat- a mastodons tooth isnt flat each tooth’s crown has a bunch of cone structures on them to help crunch down the roots they eat. The tooth u got there is clearly flat which is useful for grinding vegetation vegetation like grasses. Elephants and their relatives only have 4 teeth and they are all massive.


it could be of marine origin too. I’m not sure if they lived in Iowa but there were some prehistoric whales that had flatter teeth to chomp down on clams and mollusks

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My first guess was Mastodon, since they’re found here in the Midwest a lot. Whales didn’t come around until the eocene, so it’s possible that some toothed whales were adapted for munching sea grass (and parts of the Midwest were still underwater early in the Tertiary and Cenozoic).

Dinosaur teeth (Theropod) are generally oval-shaped in top-down cross section - or flattened and blade-like, except for a few species with conical teeth. Mammals have a more circular top-down cross section of their teeth.

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Could be a glyptodont tooth or maybe a giant boar molar.

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Unless the jaw can be found, it’s hard to say for sure but that tooth is mammalian.

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i agree with dale.