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Observations on the polyphyodont dentition of Hemiphractus proboscideus (Anura: Hylidae)



In Hemiphractus fang–like teeth are ankylosed to the premaxilla, maxilla and prevomer, and bony odontoids are found on the dentary, angular and palatine bones. The odontoids are small, but a larger pair at the front of the lower jaw project upwards and backwards into the mouth and fit into a diastema between the anterior premaxillary teeth when the mouth is closed.

The teeth are unipartite and monocuspid, and each consists of a strongly recurved and elongated cone of orthodentine, capped at the tip by a thin layer of enamel. The inner circumpulpal layer of the dentine is tubular, but no tubules are present in the outer pallial layer. During tooth development, dentine is formed before the enamel matrix is produced, and the tooth germs lie horizontally beneath the ventral surface of each dentigerous bone. On eruption, the tooth germs migrate horizontally and become ankylosed to the outer edge of the jaw bone by a layer of cellular cementum.

During tooth replacement, the vast majority of the dentine of each tooth, and the cementum at the tooth base, are resorbed by osteoclasts. It is not clear whether the tips of the teeth are shed or not.

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