29 March 2012

The sublingua cleans the toothcomb

A toothcomb (tooth comb, dental comb) is a dental structure most commonly known in lemuriform primates (which includes lemurs and lorisoids). Similar dental structures can be found in other mammals, including colugos, treeshrews, and some African antelopes...

The toothcomb of lemuriform primates include incisors and canine teeth that tilt forward at the front of the lower jaw, followed by a canine-shaped first premolar... The comb is formed by fine spaces between the teeth, although in colugos the individual incisors are serrated, providing multiple tines per tooth.

The toothcomb is kept clean by either the tongue or, in the case of lemuriforms, the sublingua, a specialized "under-tongue."

The toothcomb is usually used for grooming. While licking the fur clean, the animal will run the toothcomb through the fur to comb it. Fine grooves or striations are usually cut into the teeth during grooming by the hair and may be seen on the sides of the teeth when viewed through a scanning electron microscope. The toothcomb can have other functions, such as food procurement and bark gouging...
You learn something every day.  More at Wikipedia.

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