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Image by Jeramey Jannene
Which animal do you think has the biggest teeth?
A shark, like the Great White, might have teeth up to 7.5cm long – but are those the very longest teeth ever?
Could a cat-like mammal, like the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon, have had the very longest teeth?
The obvious answer might be some sort of dinosaur.
Find out the real answer below…
While the Great White definitely does have impressive gnashers, its teeth seem tiny in comparison to the massive, ancient Megalodon, whose teeth reached up to and over 18cm in length.
That’s as long as a new-born panda, if you’re looking for a horrifying mental image to take away from this post.
No prizes for guessing what Megalodon means, either – from the Greek "mega", meaning big, and "odon", meaning tooth, meaning its full name Carcharodon Megalodon means "ragged-toothed big-tooth".
With its canines (or should that be felines? No, because that is neither accurate nor amusing) reaching a mighty thirty centimeters, the big cat Smilodon populator, "sabre-tooth the devastator", had two teeth that could reach the same length as a foot-long sub.
In other words, they were a foot long, but I think the foot-long sub makes a better mental image, don’t you?
The T. Rex also had teeth reaching a length of up to thirty centimeters, but in the T. Rex‘s case, these weren’t two lone teeth.
A T. Rex‘s mouth was full of enormous teeth, and with its mighty jaw muscles it would have been capable of taking on much more diverse, and possibly lightly armored, prey than the Smilodon. Its teeth weren’t necessarily bigger, but T. Rex probably used them better.
There’s one type of tooth that blows all these others out…of the water (see what I did there?).
The three meter long spiral tusk of the narwhal is a tooth – tusks are teeth because they are made out of the same material and grow from the same place, despite their different name.
Three meters is about the same length as a small city car, and long enough to spear you all the way through and then some if you ever pissed off a narwhal.
However, the very longest tusk belonged to an elephant, and is said to have reached a mighty three point five meters in length – to use my own ridiculous and pointless method of tooth measurement, that is as long as a small city car with one and two-thirds of a foot-long sub stuck to its boot.
For more of a visual: it’s about as long as a Rhino’s entire body.
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