Teeth


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Definition of Teeth
(Scientific name: Dentes)

From the elephant glossary Section: elephant anatomy


Closeup of the cheek teeth of a dead juvenile bush elephant
Closeup of the cheek teeth of a dead juvenile bush elephant



Molar replacement
Molar Molar Appearance Molar Loss
I birth 2 years
II birth 6 years
III 1 year 13-15 years
IV 6 years 28 years
V 18 years 43 years
VI 30 years 65+ years
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Elephants usually have 26 teeth: the Incisors , known as the tusks, 12 deciduous premolars, and 12 molars. Unlike most mammals, which grow baby teeth and then replace them with a single permanent set of Adult teeth, elephants are polyphyodonts that have cycles of tooth rotation throughout their lives.

The chewing teeth are replaced six times in a typical elephant's lifetime. Teeth are not replaced by new ones emerging from the jaws vertically as in most mammals. Instead, new teeth grow in at the back of the mouth and move forward to push out the old ones

  1. The first chewing tooth on each side of the jaw falls out when the elephant is two to three years old.
  2. The second set of chewing teeth falls out at four to six years old.
  3. The third set falls out at 9–15 years of age
  4. Set four lasts until 18–28 years of age.
  5. The fifth set of teeth falls out at the early 40s.
  6. The sixth (and usually final) last the rest of its life. When worn down, the elephant died of starvation.


Elephant teeth have loop-shaped dental ridges, which are thicker and more diamond-shaped in African elephants.

Reference list Koehl, Dan, (2024). Teeth. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 20 September 2021 at https://www.elephant.se/index.php?id=38. (archived at the Wayback machine)


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