Name: Nicky S.
Date: Saturday, November 16, 2002
I have had many people ask me, while I was showing off a
beaver skull, why they have yellow-orange incisors? I know beavers are
rodents, and their incisors are constantly growing, and I have noticed
this in all rodents also. But why is there a discoloration of the incisors
(only) and not the other molars? Thanks!
The incisors are composed of two different materials, the outer, colored
portion is harder, the whiter inner portion is softer. When the animals chew
the softer material wears away faster than the colored, harder part so that
the teeth are constantly sharpened as they wear and grow. I assume that the
difference in color is simply due to the different composition.
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Update: June 2012