How snakes got their fangs

The mystery of the evolution of snake fangs may have been solved by scientists at Flinders University. Fangs have evolved independently time after time among many lineages of venomous snakes, but are rarely seen in other reptiles. Now, scientists have revealed that microscopic features of snake teeth – that may have evolved for an entirely … Continue reading How snakes got their fangs

How animals grow teeth, claws, and other pointy parts

Have you ever wondered how pointed shapes are made in nature, like animal teeth and horns? Australian scientists have found the process is governed by a simple mathematical pattern. The formula applies to shapes as diverse as vertebrate teeth, including giant sharks, tyrannosaurs, mammoths, sabre-tooth cats and humans, as well as claws, horns, antlers, beaks, … Continue reading How animals grow teeth, claws, and other pointy parts

How teeth sense cold temperatures

Cold teeth can be painful, particularly if they’re decayed. In a new paper, published in Science Advances, scientists reveal that they’ve located a protein that lets teeth sense cold temperatures. The protein, TRPC5, is an ion channel: a molecular tube that can open and shut, letting ions through that trigger electrical impulses. It appears in … Continue reading How teeth sense cold temperatures

When mammals were like lounge lizards

The first mammals were rather reptilian in their ways, leading less active but much longer lives than now, a new study suggests. A research team led by the University of Bristol, UK, and Finland’s University of Helsinki used advanced imaging technology to analyse 200-million-year-old fossils of teeth barely the size of a pinhead. They came … Continue reading When mammals were like lounge lizards

Tracing the evolution of vertebrate teeth

The evolutionary roots of teeth and dermal jawbones (cheekbones), the precursor to vertebrate jaws as we know them today, may be older than previously thought. That information comes thanks to some very modern technology and some very old fossils with surprisingly modern-looking teeth. Using synchrotron microtomography, a team of Swedish, Czech, French and UK researchers … Continue reading Tracing the evolution of vertebrate teeth

Bacteria seek safety before attacking teeth

The bacteria that cause tooth decay protect themselves by hiding in a multilayered community of other bacteria and polymers, researchers in the US have found. They did so by using a combination of super-resolution confocal and scanning electron microscopy with computational analysis to study how Streptococcus mutans arranges itself within the sticky biofilm we know as dental … Continue reading Bacteria seek safety before attacking teeth