Animals have pretty cool dental structures.
Animals can have similar dental structures to humans, but some are completely different and much more scary! Today on the Defacto Dentists Blog, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most interesting ones!
First up: Giraffes.
Giraffes are pretty similar to humans when it comes to teeth. A fully grown adult would normally have 32 teeth and a fully grown adult giraffe would normally have 32 teeth too. The only difference? Our teeth are spread over the top and bottom of or mouths whereas giraffe’s teeth are only found on the bottom of their mouths.
Giraffe’s don’t have front teeth. This is because they do not need front teeth to strip leaves off of branches. Instead, they use their tongue and lips to do this. Giraffes have really strong mouths, and most of the power comes from the back of their mouths where they grind leaves and branches into a pulp before eating them!
On average, a giraffe tongue measures between 18 inches and 21 inches long! Their tongues are also covered in a thick, gel-like, antiseptic saliva, so they’re not able to feel the sharp thorns when they’re picking away at branches and leaves.
Sharks lose a bunch of teeth each week. Sharks grow new teeth when they lose their old ones and it is estimated that sharks may have over 20,000 teeth in a lifetime! It takes about 10,000 years for a shark tooth to fossilise. The jaws of a bull shark can have a whopping 50 rows of teeth the average shark having about 15 rows of teeth in each jaw. When feasting on prey, a shark will bite with the lower jaw first and then the upper. It will toss its head back and forth to tear the prey into smaller, more manageable pieces which it will swallow whole.
Bush Babies pack a mean bite too!
Despite their cute features, Bush Baby bites can pack a punch! They may only be small animals but they use their teeth to attack their prey! Their teeth are small and sharp. Bush Baby’s teeth are a multitasking tool – they also use their teeth to keep their coat looking good. Their teeth are comb-like incisors! Any hair caught in these teeth are removed by using a “second tongue” which is located just below the row of lower teeth.
Gorillas are the largest members of the primate family. They are the closest relatives to humans are they share 99% of our DNA. When it comes to teeth, Gorilla’s are pretty gnarly. They are strong and sharp. Although they do not eat meat, they need to grind hard roots and weeds in order to eat.
Gorilla’s sharp canines on the front are long and sharp. These are used to show anger and threat towards other animals. Silverback Gorillas have prominent canines as they are seen as the leader and the one who will protect the whole group!
Animals are beautiful, but we definitely wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of their bites!