Vole incisors: putting squirrels to shame

April 24, 2013

A while back, I posted about a squirrel mandible that I’d acquired, and how ridiculously huge its incisor was.


In that post, I rather naively said “the tooth literally could not be any bigger”.

What a fool I was.

Mammal-tooth specialist Ian Corfe has started a new blog, Tetrapod Teeth & Tales, and inspired by the SV-POW! squirrel he wrote a debut post about his vole mandible. Here it is in X-ray:


As you can see, the incisor goes back almost to the posterior margin of the jaw, and in total is significantly longer than the jaw that contains it. Gotta admit, I am impressed.

Get across to Ian’s blog for the details!

3 Responses to “Vole incisors: putting squirrels to shame”

  1. Allen Hazen Says:

    How did the picture of the vole jaw get made: looks like X-ray with color added afterwards. (Great picture– I’m not complaining but genuinely curious!)

    The molars are spectacular: those vertical bars of light (radio-opaque, if it’s an X-ray) enamel are fascinating. I’d expect an elephant tooth to look something like that!

    (I’ll go across to Ian’s blog now, so you don’t have to try to answer my “how?” question. And thank you for … showing a mammalian picture instead of just another sauropod vertebra (Grin!).)

  2. iancorfe Says:

    Thanks Mike!

    I think getting an ‘impressed’ from Mike despite my whole blog falling under the ‘stinkin’ heads’ and ‘stinkin’ mammals’ categories counts as a major plus!

    Just a note to say the second instalment is now up, it’s a kind of ‘Hello World’ post that possibly should have come first but the squirrel/vole incisor thing grabbed my attention in a good way instead:


    Allen – it was a CT (Computer Tomography) X-ray scan, which means the data was captured in fully 3 dimensions. As all I wanted was a pic from my colleagues data, I oriented the 3D model side on on the screen, arbitrarily chose the colours and the densities they represent, and took a snap shot. So it kind of is X-ray with colour added, but not in a traditional way! Let me know if you want more info – I might do a post on the process and our setup in Helsinki at some point (with nice pics of teeth being scanned of course).

    The molars are cool, I mostly ignored them because I was comparing the incisors of the vole and squirrel, maybe I’ll come back to them and add more in another post. I think elephant, horse, vole and other teeth might look kinda like that, though they have differing amounts of a third material, cementum, which might vary between those species and confuse things a little.

    And yep, subtly sneaking additional mammals (and teeth!) into SV-POW! works for me too.

  3. […] covered rodent teeth here a few times before (one, two)–more than is probably right, for a blog ostensibly about sauropod vertebrae. Sherlock Holmes […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: