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Remarks Upon the Dentition and Tooth Replacement in Elephants

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

It has often been stated that in the modern elephant there is a special kind of horizontal forward-moving tooth succession, which would have come in the place of the ordinary vertical tooth replacement in other mammals. This is a mistaken view. In the modern elephant with its disproportionally large cheek teeth vertical tooth replacement has been eliminated because of lack of space, whereas the "horizontal tooth replacement" is more apparent than real. It is basically the same phenomenon that is known in many mammals, Man included, as "closing of the ranks", teeth drifting together so as to assure continuous contact within the functional series. The "horizontal replacement" is not a substitute for the vertical, and is not peculiar to the elephant.

Affiliations: 1: (Oegstgeest, The Netherlands


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