Dental Anomalies Within Extant Members of the Mammalian Order Pilosa

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Recent discovery of a supernumerary dental anomaly in two-toed sloths led to an extensive review of extant sloth specimens to look for additional anomalies. In total, 881 museum specimens were examined. These revealed two primary types of anomalies, hyperdontia (extra teeth) and anodontia (loss of teeth), occurring at a rate of 2.4% (n = 21). Two-toed sloths, Choloepus, were more likely to have hyperdontia in the anterior dentition, whereas three-toed sloths, Bradypus, experienced anodontia more frequently with the upper caniniforms. Both genera experienced both anomalies. The majority affected the upper dentition, with only three specimens exhibiting mandibular anomalies. Beyond the patterns of tooth positioning, all anomalies were random with respect to age, sex and geography. A few specimens not counted in the initial assessment expressed incomplete anodontia, indicating that the loss occurred postnatally and was not an embryological anomaly. For Bradypus, the findings provide new support for the hypothesis that the taxon represents a neotenic lineage and opens new possibilities about its relationship to the extinct ground sloths with a suggested rooting above that of the basal position it typically occupies for Folivora.

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Acta Zoologica





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This article was published in Acta Zoologica, Volume 96, Issue 3, Pages 301-311.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/azo.12077.

Copyright © 2015.

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