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Submitted on
July 18, 2012
Image Size
4.2 MB
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39 (who?)

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Shutter Speed
10/400 second
Focal Length
6 mm
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Date Taken
Jul 18, 2012, 7:21:36 AM
Too Long For Comfort by flufdrax Too Long For Comfort by flufdrax
I found another nifty skull when I was adding some teaching collection specimens to the database.

This one is of a modern marmot that had severely overgrown incisors.

Some times I ponder just how easily such things happen, the steps that turn a nifty biological idea, like ever-growing teeth on rodents, from an advantage, into a detriment to the animal. Inevitably it turns my thoughts to the fine biological line we all walk and the balance our bodies strive to maintain to keep us alive.
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Nyaasu Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh yeah, rodents have a huge problem with those ever-growing teeth! I had a pet rat named Mochi whose teeth had become misaligned. Rats teeth are set up so that they grind each other down, but his didn't contact as they should, and I had to cut his teeth every few days with a guillotine-style cat nail trimmer, otherwise he wouldn't be able to eat!

But it also has its advantages -- one of my other rats, Benny, tore out a tooth when he was trying to bite something through his cage. I worried about having to mush up his food, but THE VERY NEXT DAY it had grown back already. xD
flufdrax Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I didn't know that the teeth could be cut that way, but it makes sense. Rodent teeth are so nifty. :)
Nyaasu Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, the vet assured me that they aren't like human teeth, there's no nerve, so it's a lot like cutting a claw. x3
skiesofchaos Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Professional Photographer
Definately interesting, and thought provoking.
flufdrax Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Cousture Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012
Fascinating. Do you know what causes this type of phenomenon? Do the teeth grow at an increased rate and the animal simply can't wear them down fast enough? Has it been observed in all rodents? I had never heard of this before...

In any case, thanks again, I'm adding you to my watch list immediately! :-)
flufdrax Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
From the little I know about such things, overgrowth usually happens due to injury of some type. Often a chipped/broken opposing tooth, or injury to some part of the face/jaw is the cause. For example: Someone I knew kept rats as pets, and one of them had a minor injury to one of the muscles that help close the mouth (unsure of which one as the rat in question had passed on years before I met the person and it wasn't mentioned when they told me the story). This injury made it painful for the rat to chew, which caused it to not want to gnaw on things to keep it's teeth short, and they started to overgrow. Long story short, after the muscle injury was healed, the rat had to be taken to the vet to have it's teeth fixed, or it would have ended up looking a bit like this guy.
As for happening in all rodents, pretty much yes, as well as occasionally in animals with ever growing tusks and even some birds if their beaks get injured.
Cousture Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012
Makes perfect sense... and that's very interesting, thank you so much for taking the time to explain. I love learning this kind of thing! :-)
flufdrax Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You are very welcome.
mustardofdoom Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Wow - that must've sucked.
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