[MARMAM] New paper on the vestigial dentition of beaked whales

Carolina Loch Silva lochcarolina at gmail.com
Thu Jun 9 23:01:23 PDT 2016

Dear MARMAM subscribers,

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following paper in the
current issue of the New Zealand Journal of Zoology:

*Ultrastructure, biomechanical and chemical properties of the vestigial
dentition of a Cuvier's beaked whale*

Carolina Loch and Ludwig Jansen van Vuuren

doi: 10.1080/03014223.2015.1133666


Beaked whales are poorly known cetaceans with a peculiar dentition
consisting of one or two pairs of mandibular tusks, sometimes accompanied
by dozens of peg-like rudimentary teeth normally concealed in the gum
tissue. This study investigated the ultrastructure, chemical and
biomechanical properties of vestigial teeth in a specimen of Cuvier's
beaked whale deposited in the Otago Museum collections. The juvenile
individual had 49 needle-like vestigial teeth in situ on the lower jaws.
Scanning electron microscopy images revealed a thin layer of
semi-structured prismless enamel covering the teeth. Mechanical properties
values were within the range of values reported for other cetaceans,
suggesting relaxed biomechanical functional demands. Chemical analyses
revealed preservation of the hydroxyapatite composition despite
morphological simplification and vestigial nature. The presumed high
incidence of vestigial teeth in *Ziphius cavirostris*, the small size and
the degenerate nature of these structures are consistent with their
interpretation as vestiges rather than atavisms.

Full text is available at:

Or alternatively, a *pdf* can be requested at: carolina.loch at otago.ac.nz

Best regards,


Carolina Loch Silva, PhD

Research Fellow

Sir John Walsh Research Institute

Faculty of Dentistry, University of Otago

Dunedin 9054, New Zealand

Phone: +(64) 03 479-7093


Research Collaborator

Geology Department, University of Otago


Laboratório de Mamíferos Aquáticos UFSC

Florianópolis, SC - Brasil

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