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523
MAMMALIA


In a very large number of mammals the teeth of different parts of the series are more or less differentiated in character; and, accord# ingly, have different functions to perform. The front teeth are simple and one-rooted, and are adapted for cutting and seizing. They are called “ incisors." The back, lateral or cheek teeth, on the other hand, have broader and more complex crowns, tuberculated or ridged, and supported on two or more roots. They crush or grind the food, and are hence called “ molars.” Many mammals have, between these two sets, a tooth at each corner of the mouth, longer and more pointed than the others, adapted for tearing or stabbing, or for fixing struggling prey. From the conspicuous development of such teeth in the Carnivora, especially the dogs, they have received the name of “ canines." A dentition with its component parts so differently formed that these distinctive terms are applicable to them is called heterodont (Gr. hepos, different). In most cases, though by no means invariably, mammals with a heterodont dentition are also diphyodont (Gr. éubviys, of double form).

This general arrangement is obvious in a considerable number of mammals; and examination shows that, under great modifications jn detail, there is a remarkable uniformity of essential characters in the dentition of a large number of members of the class belonging to different orders and not otherwise closely allied, so much that it


FIG. 2.-Milk and Permanent Dentitions of Upper (I.) and Lower (ll.) laws of the Dog (Canis), with the symbols by which the different teeth are designated. The third upper molar (m 3) is the only tooth wanting to complete the typical heterodont mammalian dentition. is possible to formulate a common plan of dentition from which the others have been derived by the alteration of some and the suppression of other members of the series, and occasionally, but very rarely, by addition. In this generalized form of mammalian dentition the total number of teeth present is 44, or II above and I I below on each side. Those of each jaw are placed in continuous series without intervals between them; and, although the anterior teeth are simple and single-rooted, and the posterior teeth complex and with several roots, the transition between the two kinds is gradual.

In dividing and grouping such teeth for the purpose of description and comparison more definite characters are required than those derived merely from form or function. The first step towards a classification rests on the fact that the upper jaw is composed of two bones, the premaxilla and the maxilla, and that the division or suture between these bones separates the three front teeth from the rest. These three teeth, which are implanted in the premaxilla, form a distinct group, to which the name of “ incisor " is applied. This distinction is, however, not so important as it appears at first sight, for their Connexion with the bone is only of a secondary nature, and, although it happens conveniently that in the great majority of cases the division between the bones coincides with the inter space between the third and fourth tooth of the series, still, when it does not, as in the mole, too much weight must not be given to this fact, if it contravenes other reasons for determining the homologies of the teeth. The eight remainin teeth of the upper jaw offer a natural division, inasmuch as the tiiree hindmost never have milk-predecessors; and, although some of the anterior teeth may be in the same case, the particular one preceding these three always has such a predecessor. These three, then, are grouped as the " molars.” Of the five teeth between the incisors and molars the most anterior, or the one usually situated close behind the p rem axillary suture, very generally assumes a lengthened and pointed form, and constitutes the “ canine " of the Carnivora, the tusk of the boar, &c. It is customary, therefore, to call this tooth, whatever its size or form, the “ canine." The remaining four are the “ premolars." This system has been objected to as artificial, and in many cases not descriptive, the distinction between premolars and canine especially being sometimes not obvious; but the terms are now in such general use, and also so convenient, that it is not likely they will be superseded. It is frequently convenient to refer to all the teeth behind the canine as the “ cheek-teeth." With regard to the lower teeth the difficulties are greater, owing to the absence of any suture corresponding to that which defines the incisors above; but since the number of the teeth is the same, since the corresponding teeth are preceded by milk-teeth, and since in the large majority of cases it is the fourth tooth of the series which is modified in the same way as the canine (or fourth tooth) of the upper jaw, it is reasonable to adopt the same divisions as with the upper series, and to call the first three, which are implanted in the part of the mandible opposite to the premaxilla, the incisors, the neait the canine, the next four the premolars, and the last three the mo ars.

It may be observed that when the mouth is closed, especially when the opposed surfaces of the teeth present an irregular outline, the corresponding upper and lower teeth are not exactly opposite, otherwise the two series could not fit into one another, but as a rule the points of the lower teeth shut into the inter spaces in front of the corresponding teeth of the upper jaw. This is very distinct in the canine teeth of the Carnivora, and is a useful guide in determining the homologies of the teeth of the two jaws. For the sake of brevity the complete dentition is described by the following formula, the numbers above the line representing the teeth of the upper, those below the line those of the lower jaw: incisors 33, canines § , p, @, ,,01m§ jz, m01arS, § ;"., =}}§ {; total 44. As, however, initial letters may be substituted for the names of each group, and it is unnecessary to give more than the numbers of the teeth on one side of the mouth, the formula may be abbreviated into: if, 0 i, i>f, m § ;t0ta144-The

individual teeth of each group are enumerated from before backwards, and by such a formula as the following:- i1, i2, ¢3, c, pI, p2, p3, p4, mI, m2, m3

i1, i2, i3, c, p 1, p2, p3, p4, m1, m2, m3

a special numerical designation is given by which each one can be indicated. In mentioning any single tooth, such a sign as '12 will mean the first upper molar, 55 the first lower molar, and so on. When, as is the case among nearly all existing mammals with the exception of the members of the genera Sus (pigs), Gymnura (ratshrew), Talpa (moles) and Myogale (clesmans) the number of teeth is reduced below the typical forty-four, it appears to be an almost universal rule that if one of the incisors is missing it is the second, or middle one, while the premolars commence to disappear from the front end of the series and the molars from the hinder end. The milk-dentition is expressed by a similar formula, d for deciduous, being added before the letter expressive of the nature of the tooth. As the three molars and (almost invariably) the first premolar of the permanent series have no predecessors, the typical milk-dentition would be expressed as follows: dfi g, dc }, dm § =28. The teeth which precede the premolars of the permanent series are called either milk-molar or milk-premolar. When there is a marked difference between the premolars and molars of the permanent dentition, the first milk-molar resembles a premolar, while the last has the characters of the posterior molar. It is sometimes convenient to refer to all the seven cheek-teeth as members of a single continuous series (which they undoubtedly are), and for this purpose the following nomenclature has been proposed:-

Upper jaw. Lower Jaw.

Cheek-tooth I Protus. Protid.

2 Deuterus. Deuterid.

3 Tritus. Tritid.

4 Tetartus. Tetartid.

5 . . Pemptus Pemptid

6 ..... Hectus. Hectid.

7 ..... Hebdomus. Hebdomid.

With the exception of the Cetacea, most of the Edentata, and the Sirenia, in which the teeth, when present, have been specialized in a retrograde or aberrant manner, the placental mammals as a whole have a dentition conforming more or less closely to the foregoing type.

With the marsupials the case is, however, somewhat different; the whole number not being limited to 44, owing largely to the fact that the number of upper incisors may exceed three pairs, reaching indeed in some instances to as many as five. Moreover, with the exception of the wombats, the number of pairs of incisors in the upper always exceeds those in the lower. When fully developed, the number of cheek-teeth is, however, seven; and it is probable that, as in placentals, the first four of these are premolars and the remaining three molars, although it was long held that these numbers should