On 8 February, Dr. Dave wrote:
Subject: sperm whale teeth
>What is the specific anatomy of the whale tooth. I had a patient who does
>scrimshaw and he was telling me that his information shows the outer layer
>the whale tooth to be cementum. Of course, in humans the outer layer of
>root is cementum, but the outer layer of the crown of the tooth is enamel.
>Could you enlighten me? I'm a dentist so I have an added interest.
Dear Dr Dave,
Your patient was correct. The outer layer of sperm whales' teeth is
cementum. They do have a small amount of enamel at the tip of the tooth,
but it is covered with cementum. If you want to read more about whale
teeth, I would recommend obtaining a copy of The International Whaling
Commission's Special Issue 3 on Age Determination of Toothed Whales and
Sirenians. You should be able to get a copy through interlibrary loan
through a university library.
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