One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An extinct marine shellfish-eating reptile of the Triassic period, having short flat grinding palatal teeth and sometimes a turtlelike shell.
- ‘It had been suggested some time ago that turtles are closely related to the turtle-like placodonts.’
- ‘Ichthyosaurs and sauropterygians (plesiosaurs, placodonts, and nothosaurs) were marine reptiles restricted to the Mesozoic.’
- ‘Specifically, it seems quite possible that the choristoderes were originally shellfish-eaters like placodonts and only secondarily became long-snouted fish eaters.’
- ‘This change is so dramatic that with the exception of a single genus of placodont, all Rhaetian marine reptiles are of the classic ‘Liassic’ (early Jurassic) type.’
- ‘The placodont palate bears a rather striking resemblance to the turtle palate except that both the palatines and the maxillae bear huge crushing teeth.’
Late 19th century: from Greek plax, plak- ‘flat plate’ + odous, odont- ‘tooth’.
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