A Biting Discovery About Tasmanian Devils

A Tasmanian devil expert has uncovered an evolutionary quirk that sets carnivorous marsupials apart from the crowd – and the secret lies behind their smiles.

Professor Menna Jones from the University of Tasmania’s School of Natural Sciences has been studying Tasmanian devils for more than 30 years, and her latest research confirms a significant, fundamental morphological difference found in devils compared to most other animals: they only get a single set of teeth.

Teeth erupting from the jaw and gums of a female Tasmanian devil at 1, 2 and 5 years old. Images: David Hamilton

Professor Jones said this information helps researchers to determine the age of animals that they are studying, including those monitored in the wild for devil facial tumour research.

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