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Marine teeth (and mammal teeth)

Brooker, L.R., Lee, A.P., Macey, D.J. and Webb, J. (2001) Marine teeth (and mammal teeth). In: Jürgen Buschow, K.H., Cahn, R.W., Flemings, M.C., Ilschner, B., Kramer, E.J., Mahajan, S. and Veyssière, P., (eds.) Encyclopedia of Materials: Science and Technology. Elsevier Science, Oxford, pp. 5186-5189.

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Under the competitive pressures within complex ecosystems, the teeth of marine organisms have developed through evolutionary time to enable the organisms to feed successfully in their particular ecological niche. The diets of organisms vary, in part, due to differences in the susceptibility of their food and to differences in their feeding ability. Such teeth exhibit a diverse range of composition, microarchitecture, and overall morphology as revealed by recent studies of mineralized tissues (Mann et al. 1989, Simkiss and Wilbur 1989, Weiner and Lowenstam 1989, Frankel and Blakemore 1991).While many species of marine organisms have teeth constructed predominantly from the polysaccharide chitin (β-1-4-linked polymer of 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-D-glucose, often found partially deacetylated), those whose teeth have been modified by the inclusion of inorganic components (biominerals) reveal many of the strategies that have been studied extensively in recent years. Such studies are proving inspirational to materials scientists in their quest for inorganic and composite materials of desired composition, form, and function. An ecological approach provides a particularly helpful perspective to understand the diversity of teeth in marine organisms.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Elsevier Science
Copyright: © Elsevier
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