What Are You Eating Under There?

1) Try to determine which skulls are which mammals listed below.

2) Examine the teeth on the mammalian specimens in this section.  Try to determine what type of diet each mammal had and mark it on your chart below. 

3) Even different tooth types (heterodont dentition) is characteristic of mammals, you’ll notice that some mammals have only one tooth type.  Which specimen is that and why might this be the case for these mammals?

4) Examine the “Bonus” specimen.  Do you know what sort of animals these teeth came from?  Is it a mammal.  Notice the many rows of teeth.  Why are there so many rows?



Eat Plants

Eat Meat

Eat Insects


on trees

Eat plants

& meat

Eat blood

Eat fish



Mountain Lion










Vampire bat




Generally Eat Plants = Herbivore (look for large, flat grinding molars – some have special pattern of ridges, also notice large gap between cheek teeth and front teeth)

Eat Meat – Carnivore (look for sharp, blade-like molars for slicing, large canines for grabbing prey)

Eat insects – Insectovore (look for pointy teeth, and incisors that sticks straight out like forceps to grab insect prey)

Gnaw on trees- Gnawing Herbivore ( look for very large incisors, notice that they are self sharpening because inside is softer than outside)

Eat Plants & Meat = Omnivore (very generalized tooth types, molars often a bit rounded)

Eat blood = Sanguinivore (look for blade-like incisors that puncture skin without animal noticing, note that it is not the canines that do the dirty work – Dracula had it all wrong)

Eat Fish = Piscivore (many pointed teeth, no differences among tooth types [homodont dentition]- just need to grab fish and swallow)