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Journal Article

Shape-preserving erosion controlled by the graded microarchitecture of shark tooth enameloid

MPS-Authors
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Amini,  Shahrouz
Shahrouz Amini, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Razi,  Hajar
Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Seidel,  Ronald
Mason Dean, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Werner,  Daniel
Wolfgang Wagermaier, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Dean,  Mason N.
Mason Dean, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Fratzl,  Peter
Peter Fratzl, Biomaterialien, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Amini, S., Razi, H., Seidel, R., Werner, D., White, W. T., Weaver, J. C., et al. (2020). Shape-preserving erosion controlled by the graded microarchitecture of shark tooth enameloid. Nature Communications, 11: 5971. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-19739-0.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-7E26-2
Abstract
The teeth of all vertebrates predominantly comprise the same materials, but their lifespans vary widely: in stark contrast to mammals, shark teeth are functional only for weeks, rather than decades, making lifelong durability largely irrelevant. However, their diets are diverse and often mechanically demanding, and as such, their teeth should maintain a functional morphology, even in the face of extremely high and potentially damaging contact stresses. Here, we reconcile the dilemma between the need for an operative tooth geometry and the unavoidable damage inherent to feeding on hard foods, demonstrating that the tooth cusps of Port Jackson sharks, hard-shelled prey specialists, possess unusual microarchitecture that controls tooth erosion in a way that maintains functional cusp shape. The graded architecture in the enameloid provokes a location-specific damage response, combining chipping of outer enameloid and smooth wear of inner enameloid to preserve an efficient shape for grasping hard prey. Our discovery provides experimental support for the dominant theory that multi-layered tooth enameloid facilitated evolutionary diversification of shark ecologies.