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Study Reveals That Ancient Whales Had Razor Sharp Teeth by Noblex: 9:22 am On Aug 31

Ancient Whales Had Razor Sharp Teeth


Millions of years ago, whales looked very different from the gentle giants we know today. They were comparatively small (about three to five meters long, or 10-16 feet) and had a battery of formidable teeth.

Modern mysticetes or baleen whales are the largest animals that have ever lived (blue whales can grow up to 105 feet) but unlike other mammals, they have no teeth. Instead, they filter vast amounts of small prey from seawater using baleen: comb-like plates that hang from the roof of their mouths.

One prominent idea suggests that whales used these teeth in a rather special way: instead of piercing and cutting, they may have used them as a sieve to filter small prey directly from water.

Teeth are usually the main tool used during feeding, and their shape can tell us a lot about how and what an animal eats. For example, predators that kill and chew their prey need sharp teeth with cutting blades.

Unlike those of most mammals, the teeth of ancient whales were often rather intricate, and consisted of a series of cusps arranged like the fingers of a hand.

One prominent idea suggests that whales used these teeth in a rather special way: instead of piercing and cutting, they may have used them as a sieve to filter small prey directly from water. A similar behaviour is used by living crabeater and leopard seals when hunting krill in the Antarctic.

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