Tooth breaks

It seems to be commonly recognised that theropods shed their teeth pretty much as a matter of course. Any breaks will soon no longer be a problem as the broken tooth will fall out when it’s time comes. It’s no surprise that shed teeth are common for theropods and there are some nice records of teeth having broken off in the bones of things they were biting.

One might think that mammals would be somewhat immune to this issue. Without the ability to infinitely replace their teeth they would evolve bigger teeth or heavier levels of enamel or something like this. They quite probably are stronger (I’m not sure they have been directly compared to each other) but mammalian predators are not immune from tooth breaks and some species have been recorded as having more than 10% of individuals with broken teeth. Naturally the relatively long canines that are being used in predatory strikes are rather more vulnerable that say the molars.

And here’s an example. A big cat skull with a nicely cracked canine on the posterior face where presumably it bit a bit too hard on a bone at some point and split the tooth. Not the sole preserve of the theropods.

1 Response to “Tooth breaks”

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