More about mammoths : Mammoth teeth

What Did Lupe Eat?

mammoth molar

Mammoth molars are teeth made up of a series of enamel plates. Enamel is a hard material that covers a tooth. Feel your teeth — the hard surface of your teeth is enamel.

The enamel plates form ridges on the grinding surface of the tooth. Mammoths needed to have sharp enamel plates on their molars for grinding plant material between their teeth. When a mammoth chews food, the molar tooth wears down.

Their molars are adapted for eating grasses. Because they eat plant material, mammoths are called herbivores.

Other types of animals have teeth adapted for eating meat. These animals are called carnivores. They have a set of very sharp molars that they use for tearing meat. When they bite down, these teeth act like a pair of scissors.

A third group of animals, called omnivores, eat plants and meat. They have rounded molars like yours.

Look at the teeth in the photos below. Did these animals eat plants, meat or both?

herbivore teeth

Teeth or an herbivore (a horse)

omnivore teeth

Teeth or an omnivore (a peccary)

carnivore teeth

Teeth or an carnivore (a coyote)

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