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This lioness was happy to show Russell her magnificent dentition on a recent trip to Africa. This however was as close as he wanted to get in his study of comparative anatomy.

The lion has large canines for gripping prey, which are usually suffocated. The premolars are adapted to the lions carnivorous diet and are called carnassial teeth. They have a shearing action which allows them to slice through animals hides and bite off chunks of meat small enough to be swallowed. This is why lions seem to “chew” with the side of their mouth.

Us humans have a dentition adapted to our omnivorous diet. Our canines are much smaller and our premolars are designed to masticate rather than shear food.


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