Hinged Teeth in Snakes: An Adaptation for Swallowing Hard-Bodied Prey

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Science  17 Apr 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4492, pp. 346-349
DOI: 10.1126/science.212.4492.346


Six genera of snakes, representing at least three lineages, possess teeth that fold backward against the jaws rather than being firmly ankylosed. This condition, effected by a connective tissue hinge at the base of each tooth, is associated with suites of cephalic modifications that enable the snakes to grasp and to swallow hard-bodied prey.