In this unique book, Peter S. Ungar tells the story of mammalian teeth from their origin through their evolution to their current diversity.
Mammal Teeth traces the evolutionary history of teeth, beginning with the very first mineralized vertebrate structures half a billion years ago. Ungar describes how the simple conical tooth of early vertebrates became the molars, incisors, and other forms we see in mammals today. Evolutionary adaptations changed pointy teeth into flatter ones, with specialized shapes designed to complement the corresponding jaw.
Ungar explains tooth structure and function in the context of nutritional needs. The myriad tooth shapes produced by evolution offer different solutions to the fundamental problem of how to squeeze as many nutrients as possible out of foods. The book also highlights Ungar's own path-breaking studies that show how microwear analysis can help us understand ancient diets.
The final part of the book provides an in-depth examination of mammalian teeth today, surveying all orders in the class, family by family. Ungar describes some of the more bizarre teeth, such as tusks, and the mammal diversity that accompanies these morphological wonders.
Mammal Teeth captures the evolution of mammals, including humans, through the prism of dental change. Synthesizing decades of research, Ungar reveals the interconnections among mammal diet, dentition, and evolution. His book is a must-read for paleontologists, mammalogists, and anthropologists.
Peter S. Ungar is Distinguished Professor and chair of anthropology at the University of Arkansas.
PrefaceIntroductionEndothermyFood Energy and TeethA Very Brief History of the Study of Mammal TeethOrganization of This BookPart I: Key Terms and Concepts1. Tooth Structure and FormBasic Tooth StructureTooth TypesDeciduous and Permanent TeethDental Formulas, Tooth Notations, and Direction TermsNomenclature for Features on the Occlusal SurfaceCategories of Cheek Teeth2. Dental Histology and DevelopmentFracture Mechanics and Tooth DesignDental HistologyDental DevelopmentGenetics of Dental Development and Occlusal Morphology3. Food and FeedingNutrient RequirementsEnergy Flow and Food SelectionDiet CategoriesPhysical Properties of FoodsFinal Thoughts4. Food Acquisition and ProcessingFood AcquisitionFood ProcessingFinal Thoughts5. Classification of the MammalsSome Basic Terms and ConceptsA Very Brief History of Classification of the MammalsClassification Used in This BookTaxonomy, Systematics, and TeethPart II: The Evolution of Mammal Teeth6. Teeth before the MammalsThe Origin(s) of TeethThe Early Evolution of TeethFinal Thoughts7. The Origin of Mammalian MasticationThe Early Evolution of the SynapsidsKey Adaptations for Mammalian MasticationFinal Thoughts8. The Fossil Record for Mesozoic MammalsThe Evolution of Mesozoic MammalsThe Evolution of Molar Form in Mesozoic MammalsThe Cretaceous/Paleogene Extinctions9. Cenozoic Mammalian EvolutionFossil MonotremesFossil MarsupialsFossil PlacentalsCenozoic Mammalian RadiationsFinal ThoughtsPart III: The Teeth of Recent Mammals10. Monotremata and MarsupialiaProtheriaMonotremataMarsupialiaDidelphimorphiaPaucituberculataMicrobiotheriaNotoryctemorphiaPeramelemorphiaDasyuromorphiaDiprotodontiaFinal Thoughts11. Xenarthra and AfrotheriaXenarthraCingulataPilosaAfrotheriaAfrosoricidaMacroscelideaTubulidentataHyracoideaProboscideaSireniaFinal Thoughts12. LaurasiatheriaCetartiodactylaPerissodactylaChiropteraCarnivoraPholidotaEulipotyphlaFinal Thoughts13. EuarchontogliresScandentiaDermopteraPrimatesLagomorphaRodentiaFinal ThoughtsConclusionsAdaptive Radiation of the MammalsHow Do Teeth Work?Where Did Teeth Come From, and How Did They Evolve?Dental Diversity Today and What We Can Learn from ItFinal ThoughtsAppendixLiterature CitedIndex