What’s it about?
This paper explores the order in which teeth come in for two major mammal groups: the insectivores and the carnivores. In early terrestrial vertebrates, teeth come in from front to back, or from the snout to the back of the jaw. In some mammals this is still the case, but not all.
Why does it matter?
The order in which teeth come in appears to be a reflection of the function of the teeth. In early terrestrial vertebrates, all the teeth are essentially the same: pointy or peg-like. In mammals we have different kinds of teeth for different functions: Incisors for nipping, canines from gripping, carnassials (carnivores only) for slicing, and molars for crushing and grinding. Because of this, the order that the teeth grow in affects how functional the teeth are.
Why did I read this?
I was really looking for a paper that described when canine teeth come in with respect to weaning. This paper discusses that the fourth premolars typically come in after weaning in carnivores, but it doesn’t actually discuss canines. Oh well. I’ll keep looking…