Tuatara: the most ancient of headsmen

The tuatara is New Zealand’s iconic reptile.

What you may not have guessed about this seemingly unassuming lizard is that it has a unique jaw mechanism that allows it to saw the heads off of its prey, seabirds. Their upper jaw has two rows of teeth next to each other, while the lower jaw only has one row. They can also slide their lower jaw forward several millimeters, creating a sawing action. In the article linked to above, there’s a really interesting video including a computer animation of how it works. This really is a strange creature. But also really cool!

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