AskDefine | Define heterodont

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Adjective

  1. Having teeth of different types (like most mammals)

Noun

  1. A heterodont animal
  2. A North American snake of the genus Heterodon

Extensive Definition

The anatomical term heterodont (from Greek, meaning 'different teeth') refers to animals which possess more than a single tooth morphology. For example, members of the Synapsida (which includes mammals) generally possess incisors, canines ('eyeteeth'), premolars, and molars. The presence of heterodont dentition is evidence of some degree of feeding/hunting specialization in a species. By contrast, homodont ('same teeth') dentition is the plesiomorphic state for vertebrates, and is common in elasmobranchs, bony fish, amphibians, and most reptiles. Within the Sauropsida, there are occasionally cases of heterodonty, in some forms of pterosaurs like Raeticodactylus filisurensis, lizards, and dinosaurs, for example.
The term heterodont can also refer to members of the Subclass Heterodonta of the Class Bivalvia. The name refers to the differentiated hinge teeth which hold together the valves of the shell.

See also

heterodont in Catalan: Heterodòncia
heterodont in German: Heterodontie
heterodont in Polish: Heterodontyzm
heterodont in Ukrainian: Гетеродонтизм
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