Have you ever seen a set of human teeth in the mouth of a squid? The Promacthoteuthis sulcus is the squid of your nightmares, hailing from the depths of the ocean. Fortunately, these teeth aren’t as frightening as they seem.
This squid’s choppers are actually lips! Like many cephalopods, the Promacthoteuthis sulcus has a beak, but its unique folded lips cover up this feature. The bottom line? Don’t fear these pseudo-teeth; fear the powerful beak that is concealed beneath them. The line below the bottom line? Fear the bends and death by excruciating pressure if you ever see one of these critters, since you will be hundreds of feet under the surface of the water and in complete darkness.
What kind of animal has the sharpest teeth of any creature and lacks a jaw? The prehistoric condont, of course! These 2-inch long creatures roamed the earth 200 million years ago, slicing up their food with teeth thinner than human hairs.
The picture above is a scanning electron micrograph of the condont’s teeth, which are impossible to see with the naked eye. Not a great deal is known about these ancient eels, but we do know that they could have easily sliced you open if you happened to have one crawling on your skin. The good news? They went extinct a very long time ago.
Don’t think you’re getting away once the Dragonfish bites you with its teeth ? this deep-sea fish, in addition to having sharp teeth in the normal arrangement, has teeth that grow on its tongue!
Despite their frightening appearance, these creatures are no bigger than half a foot, so they really pose no threat. (Also, they live in deep waters, so they never attack humans.) The Dragonfish lives in complete darkness and is almost blind, using alternative means to find food and survive in a desolate environment.
How on earth did a prehistoric shark with teeth more than half a foot long go extinct? There was no living thing that the Megalodon could not destroy, but apparently it was no match for climate changes that affected its habitat.
Megalodons were as long as 67 feet and cycled through more than 20,000 teeth in a lifetime, losing and regaining them much as present-era-sharks do now. They are regarded as the most powerful animal of all time by many paleontologists.
Snails have the most teeth of any animal, though their teeth aren’t the stereotypical ?teeth? that we think of. Snails, despite having thousands of teeth, are unable to chew their food. This is because they use radulas, ribbon-like structures filled with teeth, to grind up their food and prepare it for digestion.
Over the lifetime of a mollusk, these tiny teeth become blunt, fall out, and are replaced with new, sharper teeth.
Ah, the piranha, one of the most infamous animals for having razor-sharp teeth and attacking large animals in vicious packs. Theodore Roosevelt, while in Brazil, saw a cow ripped to shreds by a group of these fish in seconds. This feat is a testament to the flesh-tearing ability that these teeth possess.
Piranhas have unusually triangular teeth, which allows for tight interlocking, making it easier for these fish to rip apart their victim. They are known to ?pick their prey clean,? leaving nothing but a pile of bones.
Venomous snakes have hollow teeth, which allow for the storing and injection of venom into their prey. A poison gland feeds into the snake’s fangs and provides venom at the point of attack, while smaller teeth on the snake’s bottom jaw are only for latching onto the victim.
The fangs of a snake are either fixed or erectile, meaning that some snakes do not put their fangs out until they are ready to strike!
The guys over at How Stuff Works have made an excellent analogy that will serve us well in talking about the teeth of Baleen Whales. This set of ?teeth? is actually more like a giant moustache inside of the whale’s mouth. Also, like most pieces of facial hair, it gets food caught in it. This way, when the whales open their mouths and take in water, krill and other goodies are left behind for them to eat!
The Sheepshead is a common fish in North America and a target for many fishermen. What many people don’t realize, however, is how strange their teeth are! These fish have human-like teeth, which is odd, but they also have a row of teeth on the roof of their mouths.
The teeth of this fish are relatively blunt, so they are used mainly for cracking open clams and oysters. These, along with crustaceans, are the main diet of the Sheepshead.
Unfortunately, it’s a little bit more difficult than you would think to look at a dolphin and guess its age. While the teeth are a very good set of indicators, you would need to take one out and cut it in half in order to estimate the age of the dolphin. This creature’s teeth feature growth rings, much like those present in trees, that allow scientists to guess how old the animals are!