Key Difference – Herbivores vs Carnivores Teeth
The key difference between herbivores and carnivores teeth is that herbivores teeth are used for cutting, gnawing, and biting while carnivores teeth are sharper and more suited to catching, killing, and tearing the prey. Based on the food habits there are three types of animals; carnivores, herbivores and omnivores. Animals that rely entirely on the flesh of other animals are called carnivores and animals that feed entirely on vegetation/ plant matters are called herbivores. Omnivores are the animals that feed on both meat and vegetation. Because of the various dietary patterns and the nutrient amount in food, the structure, the number and the location of teeth among these three groups vary widely. In this article, the difference between herbivores and carnivores teeth will be highlighted.
The incisors of herbivores are sharp and are used mainly to cut, gnaw and bite. Gnawing herbivores have long chisel-like incisors located in front of the skull and used for gnawing and scraping. They do not have canines. A horny pad in upper jaw completely replaces the canines and incisors in ruminants. Moreover, their incisors and canines are similar and act as blades to cut and gather grass. Molars and premolars of herbivores have flat grinding surfaces, and they grow continuously throughout their lifetime.
Carnivore teeth are extremely adapted to the dietary habit of carnivores. Their upper premolar 4 and lower molar 1 are carnassial teeth and used to cut the meat away from the bone. The long, pointed canines are used to catch, kill their prey, and tear the flesh of prey. Their premolars and molars are flattened with uneven edges and are used to shear the flesh of prey into smaller pieces. Their incisors are pointed teeth and are used to catch prey.
What is the difference between Herbivores and Carnivores Teeth?
Characteristics of Herbivores and Carnivores Teeth
Herbivores: The incisors of herbivores are sharp and are used mainly to cut, gnaw and bite
Carnivores: The incisors of carnivores are pointed teeth and are used to catch prey
Molars and Premolars
Herbivores: Molars and premolars of herbivores have flat grinding surfaces, and they grow continuously throughout their lifetime.
Carnivores: Premolars and molars of carnivores are flattened with uneven edges and are used to shear the flesh of prey into smaller pieces. They do not grow continuously throughout life.
Herbivores: Ruminants have canines that are similar to incisors. Gnawing herbivores do not have canines.
Carnivores: Canines of carnivores are long, pointed canines are used to catch, kill their prey and tear the flesh of prey.
Image Courtesy: “My what big teeth you have in Black and White”by Steve Wilson (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr “Crâne mouton” by Vassil – Own work.(Public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons