Whale/Dolphin Teeth

From: Tom Ford (tjfketos@rcn.com)
Date: Sat Nov 13 2004 - 17:22:16 EST

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    From: TaiChiStudent@aol.com
    Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 15:51:34 EST
    To: tjfketos@rcn.com, pita@whale.simmons.edu
    Subject: Whale/Dolphin Teeth

    Dr. Ford,

    We would like some information on what type of teeth whale and dolphins
    have. Do the have molars, cuspids and insciors? Also, we understand that
    dolphins have "coned-shaped" teeth. Do whales have these, or can they vary?

    Thanks for your help.

    Dear Class,

    Whale teeth are generally conical. This is true for most whales excepting
    beaked whales and porpoises. Porpoises have spatula shaped teeth. Beaked
    whales have twelve different shapes that are species unique in form. Sperm
    whales have erupted teeth only in the lower jaw. The upper teeth do not
    erupt. narwhals have the most spectacular teeth. males have a tusk that
    projects forward from the upper jaw. This tusk can be ten feet long and is a
    spiral shape like the unicorn. Indeed, Viking traders used to peddle narwhal
    teeth as unicorn horn. People in medieval times thought that unicorn horn
    cups would neutralize poisons.

    pointedly yours,

    Tom Ford

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