Teeth

Researchers say the incisors' removal may have served as an indicator of social status or membership in a specific group.

Why Are These Medieval-Era Skulls Found in Gabon Missing Their Front Teeth?

Intact, 500-year-old upper jaws discovered in an African cave bear evidence of deliberate facial modification

A snowflake moray eel peers out from its hiding spot.

New Research

To Capture Prey on Land, This Eel Has an Extendable, Extra Jaw Hidden Inside Its Throat

This second set of teeth allows some moray eels to more effectively feed in the intertidal zone when the tide is low

Scholars used a newly developed technique to test skeletons' teeth for the presence of Yersinia pestis, the pathogen responsible for the plague.

Cool Finds

Why Weren't These Black Death Victims Buried in Mass Graves?

New research suggests some Europeans who died of the bubonic plague were individually interred with care

Adult male from grave 76a in Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov, drawn as if alive during a dance session, with 140 elk teeth on his chest, waist, pelvis and thighs

Cool Finds

Stone Age People Donned Elk-Tooth Ornaments During Spirited Dance Sessions

Thousand of animal incisors discovered at an 8,000-year-old Russian cemetery may have been valued for their role in keeping a beat

Illustration of Smilodon fatalis cubs playing
together.

The Softer Side of Sabercats

The iconic fanged predators may have raised their young for years—dragging baby mastodon bones home for them and slowly teaching them how to hunt

The defeated Carthaginians constructed this Temple of Victory at Himera, Sicily, following the first Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.

Contrary to Popular Lore, Ancient Greek Armies Relied on Foreign Mercenaries

Scientists studying fifth-century B.C. soldiers' teeth found evidence of military support from faraway lands

Western lowland gorilla Baraka forages in the outdoor gorilla habitat at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. The silverback takes mealtime seriously, say his keepers.

Smithsonian Voices

How Do You Help a Gorilla With a Toothache?

When primate keepers at the Smithsonian's National Zoo noticed Baraka wasn't eating his meals, they wondered if this masked something more serious

Could humans be visiting Venus in the future?

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Both sides of a shark tooth from Rio do Meio, an artifact which may have been used as a cutting tool. Archaeologists think it was bound to a wooden shaft by cord, strung through the drilled holes.

Why Did Ancient Indigenous Groups in Brazil Hunt Sharks?

New studies show that shark meat may have constituted half of their diet and that the beasts' teeth were used as arrow tips and razor blades

An artist's rendering of a new species of mosasaur named Xenodens calminechari. The marine reptile was about the size of a porpoise and had serrated shark-like teeth.

New Research

Newly Discovered Marine Reptile Sawed Prey With Serrated Teeth

Researchers say the new species of mosasaur had teeth unlike those of any known reptile

New analysis of the fossilized tooth plaque of 16 ancient Mediterraneans reveals that they consumed foods imported from Asia—like turmeric and banana, pictured—a thousand years earlier than researchers previously thought.

Ancient Mediterranean People Ate Bananas and Turmeric From Asia 3,700 Years Ago

Fossilized tooth plaque reveals a diverse and exotic palette reflected in the region's modern cuisine

Christopher Lee as the titular vampire in Terence Fisher’s 1958 Dracula, showing off bloody canines that would prove weirdly influential.

How the Vampire Got His Fangs

An incisive history of a Halloween snarl

The stomach of a 15-foot fossil ichthyosaur excavated in China contained this massive chunk of another large marine reptile. The ichthyosaur swallowed its prey shortly before it died and was fossilized.

This 15-Foot Ichthyosaur Died With a 13-Foot Meal in Its Stomach

The shocking size of the marine predator’s quarry may force paleontologists to rethink the marine reptile’s role in the Triassic ecosystem

Side-by-side renderings of the marsupial saber-tooth Thylacosmilus atrox (left) and the saber-tooth cat Smilodon fatalis (right).

New Research

This Marsupial Sabertooth Was No Killer Cat

Long fangs caused many to assume Thylacosmilus was a slashing predator, but new research suggests it was a scavenger with a preference for leftovers

Wall art dated to around 1900 B.C. shows visitors to Egypt wearing colorful robes distinct from the white clothing worn by locals.

New Research Reveals Surprising Origins of Egypt's Hyksos Dynasty

An analysis of ancient tooth enamel suggests the enigmatic ancients were immigrants, not invaders

The researchers analyzed snippets of DNA left in the centuries-old tartar buildup.

New Research

New Technique to Study Ancient Teeth Reveals Edo-Era Diet in Japan

Researchers analyzed DNA in tartar from the remains of 13 people who lived between 1603 and 1867

Lead author Scott Haddow says, "Given the small sample size, the ultimate meaning of the human teeth pendants will remain elusive until new findings ... can help us better contextualize [them]."

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Unearth Beads Made of Human Teeth in Ancient Turkish City

The molars found in Çatalhöyük are the first such beads found in the Near East

Contractors found a witch bottle similar to the one pictured here while demolishing a former inn's chimney.

Cool Finds

'Witch Bottle' Filled With Teeth, Pins and Mysterious Liquid Discovered in English Chimney

The charms were designed to ward off witches, but new research suggests they had medical uses as well

“The poor Girls & their Teeth!” the author wrote in a letter to her sister. “ ... Lizzy’s were filed & lamented over again & poor Marianne had two taken out after all"

This Jane Austen Letter Highlights the Horrors of 19th-Century Dentistry

The missive, penned after the author accompanied her nieces on a visit to the dentist, will be up for auction later this month

Artists reconstruction of Phoebodus sharks.

Cool Finds

This Ancient Shark Looked Like an Eel and Swallowed Its Prey Whole

Scans of a rare 360-million-year-old shark skeleton shows the beasts used hunting techniques similar to modern sharks and fish

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