Navigation Links
Size isn't everything -- it's how sharp you are
Date:3/14/2012

For 300 million years, Earth's oceans teemed with conodonts early vertebrates that kept their skeleton in their mouth. The elements of this skeleton look uncannily like teeth (see image) and, like teeth, they were often worn and broken during life. This evidence strongly suggests that conodonts evolved the first vertebrate dentitions.

Scientists know that conodont elements worked differently from the teeth of other animals: they are microscopic about 2 to 0.2 mm long and must have had paltry muscles to move them, with no jaws to which they could attach. So how could they possibly have worked as teeth? In a new study published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B the Bristol and Monash University researchers answer this question.

Dr David Jones of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, one of the study's authors, said: "The first problem is: how do you analyse such tiny teeth? The answer: with a very big machine. We created high resolution 3D models of the conodont elements using x-rays from a particle accelerator in Japan, using it like a giant CT scanner. These virtual models were examined, leaving the original specimens untouched."

The team discovered that conodont elements are the sharpest dental structures ever measured. This sharpness allowed conodonts to overcome the limitations of their small size: since pressure is simply force applied divided by area, to increase pressure you must either increase the force or shrink the area. Conodont evolution took the latter route, allowing them to apply enough pressure to break up their food.

The work places dental evolution in larger vertebrates, like humans, in perspective: they took the alternative route, developing less efficient but less breakable, blunter teeth, to which greater force can be applied by jaw muscles.

The results could also reveal the properties of the food conodonts could eat. Many conodont elements formed notched blades, similar to the cheek teeth of modern mammal carnivores like cats and dogs. In mammals, these bladed teeth are used to process tough foods like meat or insects. Conodonts would have been able to use their elements to deal with similarly tough foods.

"So next time you're struggling through a tough Sunday roast, remember that conodonts evolved the tools for the job 500 million years ago," Dr Jones said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8896
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. ChesapeakeView: Everything you need to know about the bay
2. Everything you wanted to know about microbes and oil spills but were afraid to ask
3. Undergrad engineers research everything from water quality to wildfires this summer
4. Research concludes there is no simple theory of everything inside the enigmatic E8
5. Sharp images from the living mouse brain
6. Sharper imaging in glaucoma focus of $1.85 million NIH grant
7. NASA satellite confirms sharp decline in pollution from US coal power plants
8. Sharper, deeper, faster
9. Sharpening the nanofocus
10. Nurturing newborn neurons sharpens minds in mice
11. Tahoe native fish population declines sharply, invasives on the rise
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market for stem ... 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The rise ... growth of the stem cell market. Download ... The global stem cell market is segmented on the ... cell market of the product is segmented into adult ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... WASHINGTON , April 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... single-cell precision engineering platform, detected a statistically ... cell product prior to treatment and objective ... highlight the potential to predict whether cancer ... prior to treatment, as well as to ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017 The research team of The ... (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery ... of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration ... ... A research team ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... RegMedNet has produced a Spotlight series on “Cell Therapy Regulation” ... perspectives by leading experts on the unique regulatory challenges of stem cell medical ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased to announce that its Charm Amphenicol (AMPH) test ... screening test at dairies and farms for raw commingled cow milk. The test was ... system. These systems are a combination incubator and reader in one. , “The AMPH ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... , June 20, 2017  Kibow Biotech Inc., a ... announce the issuance of a new patent covering a ... by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May ... of the Buzz of Bio award in 2014 in ... to developing non-drug approaches to chronic disease. Renadyl™, the ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 19, 2017 , ... ... overseeing all service activities supporting EDETEK’s products including training, implementation, support, and client ... to his new role. He has previously held leadership roles for service providers ...
Breaking Biology Technology: