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

Do any other animals have baby teeth and adult teeth?

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

Advertisement

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.

Read more:


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun facts.