Animals with the Strangest Teeth

February 27, 2017 9:33 pm

group of narwhals swimming

The animal kingdom is a vast set of odd beings. The odd features of these beings, though, may come as a surprise to you! Today, we’ll take a look at some of the strangest teeth in the animal kingdom.

Musk Deer

When thinking of large teeth, you probably think of carnivores, or at least animals that have the fierce mien to match their lengthy teeth. You probably don’t think of a deer. But the musk deer, or saber-tooth deer, has an interesting set of teeth. Generated in the musk gland, their distinct odor is the cause for the name “musk deer.” They have no antlers or facial glands, which normal deer have. All in all, it’s an odd animal with strange teeth, so it qualified for this list.


The helicoprion, 290 million years old, is extinct. The fossils we’ve found, though are only tooth fossils because it had a cartilage skeletal system. Based on these fossils, scientists concluded that the fish had spiral teeth. Although it looks and behaves like a shark, it was a chimaera, a line of cartilaginous fish. Chimaeras stay around cold, deep waters of about 8,200 feet below sea level, unlike sharks who stay around warm waters. But chimaeras aren’t very good swimmers. They have four covered gills and one opening on each side of the head.

The name “helicoprion” means spiral saw in Greek. The geologist Alexander Karpinsky, who discovered the shark’s fossils in Kazakhstan, named it, but he and other scientists knew no use for its spiral saw! It was found out later that those teeth rotated backwards when the shark bit down on prey in order to push the food into its mouth.

Karpinsky thought the teeth were on its snout and the snout curled up, but the American ichthyologist Oliver Hay found another fossil in 1907 which showed him that the teeth were in the mouth. The Danish paleontologist Svend Erik Bendix-Almgreen found decades later a larger and more complete fossil in Idaho, which confirmed the teeth’s position. This fish was a truly dangerous animal with strange teeth.


The male narwhal – or the unicorn of the sea, as it’s called – is an animal with one, and sometimes two, 10-foot tusks jutting straight out of its head. These mysterious whales live in the arctic waters around Russia, Canada, Norway, and Greenway. Only about 80,000 exist, and because of the pollution which kills them and their food supply, that number may soon decrease to zero. They average about 4,200 pounds and can grow up to 17 feet long.

But what’s so special about this animal’s teeth? Its unicorn-like tusk is actually a tooth! This tusk holds millions of nerve cells, and narwhals sometimes fight in a friendly way with them. We would certainly say that’s one strange tooth!

With all this tooth talk, don’t forget your own teeth. You want none of your teeth to have odd features and strange capacities, but if you do think they’re feeling a little odd, contact Henson Family Dental so that we can help get your teeth back to normal.