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brittleness of teeth



On Feb.22, Peter Buchholz commented:
>>...filter feeding apparatus is made of true teeth, not a baleen
equivalent.>>
>Do they give any suggestions as to how _Pt._ kept its teeth from
>constantly breaking?...

Sounds like a case of flexible teeth.  _Bones: the unity of form and
function_, a gorgeous book by R. McNeill Alexander (photos by Brian
Kosoff, forward by Mark A. Norell of AMNH), in describing the wide
variety of known vertebrate mastication, mentions the Loricariid
catfish.  These fish have long, slender, flexible teeth "like the
bristles of a toothbrush", used to brush algae loose.  Loricariids are
often kept in aquaria to keep the glass clean (they eat the algae).

BTW, for anyone wanting a non-technical introduction to skeletal
mechanics, this book is almost too good to be true.  Besides the
text (quite basic, but some was new to me), the photography and
overall presentation make this a truly beautiful book.  (It's
published by MacMillan, New York, copyright 1994, and lists at $40
U.S.  I was lucky enough to find a remaindered copy, half price.)