Subject: Teeth - whales

Courtney Stirling Casey (
Wed, 18 Jun 1998 06:08:20 -0700

	Toothed or Odontocete whales vary in length depending on species. The
largest toothed whale is the male sperm whale which can reach the size
of 60 ft. and 60 tons. Similarly, the number of teeth that a toothed
whale has varies depending upon species. A dolphin has 18-26 pair of
teeth in both the upper and lower jaw. The sperm whale has 18-25 pair of
teeth but only in its lower jaw. The teeth of sperm whales can be up to
10 inches long and weight 4 pounds! 
	When whales are born their teeth have not pushed through their gums
(just like humans). Once their teeth do grow through their gums, they
are there for life. Odontocetes do not have childhood teeth and adult
teeth like humans. The teeth they first get continue to grow throughout
their lives. Sometimes when whales are old, their teeth have gottten
worn and broken, but they will not grow replacements if they fall out. 


Courtney Stirling Casey
Department of Animal and Avian Sciences
University of Maryland, College Park