Subject: Re: Toothed whale teeth numbers

Dagmar_Fertl@smtp.mms.gov
Thu, 03 Oct 96 12:33:24 EST

     Kirstyn and Kyla,
     
Thanks for the question about numbers of teeth.  All toothed whales do not have 
the same number of teeth.  The number of teeth is somewhat related to what the 
whale eats.  A species that eats pretty much only squid (like the sperm whale) 
have fewer or no visible teeth.  A sperm whale has 18-25 pairs of teeth...in the
lower jaw only (there are empty sockets in the uppper jaw for the teeth to fit 
into).  Those cetaceans that feed on small schooling fish usually have a longer 
snout and may teeth.  A bottlenose dolphin (mainly a fish eater) has 18-26 pairs
of teeth in each jaw.  While all toothed whales do have teeth, these teeth may 
erupt (be visible above the gumline) only in males (most beaked whales and the 
narwhal) or be a strange shape (the tusks of narwhals and certain mesoplodonts 
(beaked whales)).  

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: More teeth questions
Author:  Jack Regan <jmcregan@capecod.net> at ~smtp
Date:    10/3/96 11:42 AM


Dr. Fertl,
Do all toothed whales have the same number of teeth?
  Respectfully,
   Kirstyn and Kyla