Fabricational noise in elephant dentitions

Published

Journal Article

A marked retardation of dental ontogeny characterizes the family Elephantidae. As a consequence of this retardation, elephant teeth are subject to the forces of mastication, eruption, and progression while still in a developing and pliant stage. As specimens described here illustrate, the mechanical forces are often sufficient to deform the gross morphology of dentitions. Morphological variation in elephant teeth can be regarded as fabricational noise-revealing information about the dynamic context in which the teeth develop. Accordingly, dental variation is less species-specific in elephants than in other mammals. The fossil record may comprise fewer species of elephants than is generally believed, and trends inferred to reflect rapid evolution within this family may in fact reflect phenotypic plasticity. © 1989, Paleontological Society. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Roth, VL

Published Date

  • January 1, 1989

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 165 - 179

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1938-5331

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-8373

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0094837300009349

Citation Source

  • Scopus