Animal Dentition

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Dentition is the organization and the structure of teeth in an animal. Most of the dentition in mammals evolve based on their food type. Other animals like snakes have modified teeth that are called fangs, that hold venom if a snake is venomous to help poison their prey.

There are four types of teeth: incisors meant for biting, canines for cutting, premolars for grinding, and molars for crushing.

Carnivorous animals that obtain energy by eating other animals or meat have larger and sharper teeth, especially their canines. Herbivores eat plants and their teeth are broad, ridged, and built to grind rather than cut and shred like carnivorous canines. Omnivores such as humans have teeth that are generalized rather than specialized and have two incisors for biting, blunt-sharp canines, grinding premolars and molars for crushing.


Carnivores tend to have larger stomachs. Herbivores have longer alimentary canals or digestive tracts than carnivores because herbivores also tend to be bigger than carnivorous animals. Also, vegetation is harder to digest due to cell walls in plant cells.

Some herbivores mainly need enzymes to hydrolyze cellulose that the cell walls of plant cells are made of. Large symbiotic bacteria and protists settle down in alimentary canals of herbivores that digest the cellulose into sugars that herbivores can digest.

-Neil Damle

Editor at STEMTalksNC


Biology 7th Edition Campbell Reece –

Neil A. Campbell 
Jane B. Reece

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