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The Mammalian Dentition, a 'Tangled' View

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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).

Detailed knowledge of the mammalian dentition has increased enormously during the past few decades, yet the general view of the dentition has changed very little. Synthetic work connecting knowledge from different areas is possible and holds great promise, even if the synthesis is tangled and incomplete. The natural milieu for such a synthesis is the evolutionary framework. Important components of the tangle, as it appears at present, are identified and briefly discussed, mainly from a functional and palaeontological point of view. Such components arc size in relation to function and growth, the dynamics of the masticatory machinery during chewing, and especially its changes during ageing and during evolutionary history, enamel structure in relation to wear and stress, and problems of growth, homology and phylogcny. Rccognition of evolutionary constraints is possible and useful.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Geology, University of Helsinki, Snellmaninkatu 5, SF-00170 Helsinki, Finland


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