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馬 黑熊 獼猴 老虎
野豬 石虎 山羊 狗

Mammal Teeth
and What They Do

In addition to being used to cut up and grind food to improve its decomposition and absorption, teeth are important clues in biological research.

Mammals can be divided into carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores, each with specialized structures. Images and specimens are used in this program to show mammalian teeth and functions.

Types and Functions of Teeth

Teeth can be divided into four types based on arrangement and function:

(1)Incisors:The surface is relatively flat and the edges are relatively sharp and chisel-shaped for biting into and cutting up food.
(2)Canines:These are used to pierce flesh and kill prey. They are well developed in carnivores and completely absent in some herbivores.
(3)Premolars:They are flat along the top with sharp protrusions and used to crush and grind food.
(4)Molars:These are similar in structure to premolars but larger. They are used to crush and grind food, including bones.


Lesson 1

Carnivorous Mammals

The teeth of carnivorous mammals are mainly used to pierce, pull, tear, and cut flesh.

The canines are well developed. The last set of premolars in the upper jaw and the first set of molars in the lower jaw are also well developed and referred to as carnassial teeth .

Representative Animals


Lesson 2

Herbivorous Mammals

Herbivorous mammals eat plant materials such as grasses, twigs, leaves, fruits, and seeds.

Their molars are relatively flat and have a relatively large chewing surface for grinding food. Their upper and lower jaws move from side to side to enable their molars to grind tough foods.

Representative Animals


Lesson 3

Omnivorous Mammals

Omnivorous animals, such as primates and wild boars, have teeth that can process both meat and plant materials.

Their molars grind food, as well as crush it. With up and down movements of the jaws, food is mashed into a paste.

Representative Animals

In “Mammal Teeth and What They Do” program, visitors are able to join freely.

A docent introduces mammalian teeth in English.

A docent uses a tiger skull to show carnivorous mammalian teeth.

A docent guides audiences in observing elephant molar fossils.

Families interact with and ask questions of the guide in English.

Visitors observe and touch mammalian teeth specimens up close.


國家發展委員會 國立科學博物館

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