ELEPHANT’S ENCYCLOPEDIA : TEETH
Elephants usually have 26 teeth: the incisors, known as the tusks, 12 deciduous premolars, and 12 molars. Unlike most mammals, which grow baby teeth and then replace them with a single permanent set of adult teeth, elephants are polyphyodonts that have cycles of tooth rotation throughout their lives. ELEPHANT’S ENCYCLOPEDIA : TEETH.
The chewing teeth are replaced six times in a typical elephant’s lifetime. Teeth are not replaced by new ones emerging from the jaws vertically as in most mammals. Instead, new teeth grow in at the back of the mouth and move forward to push out the old ones. The first chewing tooth on each side of the jaw falls out when the elephant is two to three years old. The second set of chewing teeth falls out at four to six years old. The third set falls out at 9–15 years of age, and set four lasts until 18–28 years of age. The fifth set of teeth falls out at the early 40s. The sixth (and usually final) set must last the elephant the rest of its life. Elephant teeth have loop-shaped dental ridges, which are thicker and more diamond-shaped in African elephants.
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