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Teeth: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 27 Mar 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (27 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199670595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199670598
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 0.5 x 10.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 751,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Peter S. Ungar received his PhD in Anthropological Sciences from Stony Brook University and taught Gross Anatomy in the medical schools at Johns Hopkins and Duke before moving to the University of Arkansas, where he now serves as Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anthropology. He has written or co-authored more than 125 scientific papers on ecology and evolution for books and journals including Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, and authored the book Mammal Teeth: Origin, Evolution, and Diversity (John Hopkins University Press), which won the 2010 PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers for the best book in the biological sciences.

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By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
Most of us use our teeth on a daily basis. However, unless we have a toothache or some other serious dental mishap we don’t give much thought to teeth and their structure. On those occasions when we do, we realize how intricate and sophisticatedly shaped teeth are.

This short book will probably give you more information about teeth than most of us thought possible. It gives an evolutionary perspective on the development of teeth, and a lot of information on the difference in tooth structure between different species. It shows how truly structurally and mechanically remarkable teeth are. I doubt that even the best mechanical engineer would be able to design anything of comparable complexity.

The most relatable parts of the book are, naturally, those that explain the structure and the function of human teeth. Nonetheless, in order to appreciate their uniqueness it was necessary to contrast them to those of other animals, including those of primates – our closest relatives. The book offers some important insights, including the reason why has orthodontry become such a big issue in the West. Our modern diets feature prominently foods that are very preprocessed and soft, which puts far less pressure on our jaws during their development. Hence they become smaller, while still accommodating teeth of the same size. On the positive note our teeth don’t wear out as quickly as those of our ancestors, but the tradeoff is that many more of us now have to wear braces at some point.

Overall, this is a very interesting and well-written book that will provide you with a lot of new information. After reading it you will never think of your teeth the same way again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great book part of an greater series, Teeth: A Very Short Introduction provides the basics about tooth development, evolution and function. Perfect for those just starting to research teeth, or who are looking to get some background on the topic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Bite Sized Introduction to Teeth 3 Jan. 2015
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of us use our teeth on a daily basis. However, unless we have a toothache or some other serious dental mishap we don’t give much thought to teeth and their structure. On those occasions when we do, we realize how intricate and sophisticatedly shaped teeth are.

This short book will probably give you more information about teeth than most of us thought possible. It gives an evolutionary perspective on the development of teeth, and a lot of information on the difference in tooth structure between different species. It shows how truly structurally and mechanically remarkable teeth are. I doubt that even the best mechanical engineer would be able to design anything of comparable complexity.

The most relatable parts of the book are, naturally, those that explain the structure and the function of human teeth. Nonetheless, in order to appreciate their uniqueness it was necessary to contrast them to those of other animals, including those of primates – our closest relatives. The book offers some important insights, including the reason why has orthodontry become such a big issue in the West. Our modern diets feature prominently foods that are very preprocessed and soft, which puts far less pressure on our jaws during their development. Hence they become smaller, while still accommodating teeth of the same size. On the positive note our teeth don’t wear out as quickly as those of our ancestors, but the tradeoff is that many more of us now have to wear braces at some point.

Overall, this is a very interesting and well-written book that will provide you with a lot of new information. After reading it you will never think of your teeth the same way again.
All about teeth and more. 23 Mar. 2015
By C. Bryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The other reviewer makes the case for this book, and I really cannot improve on it. 'Teeth' is a marvelous little book that takes one into the animal kingdom from its very beginning to today - all through the investigation and explanation of our ability to process food. That sounds quite basic, but it is not. The evolution of all animal species, living and extinct, can be traced through odontology (the study of teeth). Ungar's clear and readable text explains what a tooth is and how it is formed, how it evolved, what it does, and how animals fuel themselves with this marvelous tool. After all, eating is the main occupation for many. But defense is a major aspect of survival, too. You will find a complex and fascinating history of animals from the earliest fossil record through today. It seems teeth don't so much adapt to the environment and the foods available, but the animals that own them progress through Natural selection as teeth modify through mutation and independent innovation - in different eras and completely different species. The stories of enamel, of why teeth have different shapes, cusps and ridges, of the muscles used to move jaws - and even the variations in those (or the lack of them) - make this one of those books where you learn much more than the title might suggest. Yes, there is complex scientific nomenclature for everything discussed. But it doesn't get in the way, and you aren't quizzed. You are, though, entertained and informed. Leaving the fossil record, one studies the only two living mammalian groups with teeth, marsupials and placentals, of which there are twenty-six orders and countless species - all with suitable choppers. The only cautionary tale here involves human adaptation to carbohydrates, and resultant caries and periodontal disease. One gains a new respect for their teeth with this reading. I recommend it. P.S. - Yes, the book covers fish, spiders, squid, etc., and reptiles, those with us and those frozen in stone.
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