Evolutionary Trends in the Enamel of Rodent Incisors

  • Wighart von Koenigswald
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes (ASI) Series book series (NSSA, volume 92)


Mammalian teeth are preferred objects of study in vertebrate paleontology. Their complicated morphology in most cases offers a specific determination, as well as many arguments to distinguish phylogenetic relationships. In this respect, rodent incisors are less interesting, because their morphology is fairly simple, due to their continuous growth. Only a few taxa can be identified by the characteristic cross-section of their incisors, or by grooves or crests on the enamel surface. However, the thin enamel, which covers only the buccal side of the tooth, contains quite a number of characters in its internal structure. Studies of these structures extend back to Tomes (1850), and were continued by Korvenkontio (1934) and Wahlert (1968). Several different structures within the enamel were observed and used for systematics, but very little was said about phylogenetic interrelationships, and the trends of the enamel evolution remained unknown.


Occlusal Surface Enamel Layer Mammalian Tooth Enamel Structure Enamel Prism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wighart von Koenigswald
    • 1
  1. 1.Hessisches LandesmuseumDarmstadtWest Germany

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