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Do any other animals have baby teeth and adult teeth? © Getty Images

Do any other animals have baby teeth and adult teeth?

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Open wide! Most mammals have baby teeth which allows jaws to grow so no useless little gnashers are left for adult animals.

Asked by: Louie Bridgeman-Rivett, Brighton and Hove

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Emphatically, yes: baby teeth are common in nearly all other mammals. The trait is almost certain to have been inherited from a single wobbly-toothed mammal ancestor that lived in the age of dinosaurs.

The adaptation means that, as mammal jaws grow into adulthood, the adult skull is not left with tiny teeth incapable of biting and chewing. In most mammals, baby teeth are often swallowed and come out in their droppings undigested.

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Authors

Jules Howard is a zoology correspondent, naturalist and author of more than 10 books including The Wildlife Pond Handbook. He writes for a number of publications including The Guardian, Science Focus and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

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