Why Do Plant-Eating Gorillas Have Big, Sharp Teeth?
We're delving into the choppers of the animal world for Weird Animal Question of the Week.
For Weird Animal Question of the Week, we’re sinking our teeth into two reader queries about animal choppers.
First we have six-year-old Henry from Denver, Colorado, who asked: “Since gorillas are herbivores, why do they have such big teeth?”
First off, teeth aren’t just for chomping flesh. Gorillas eat a lot of heavy twigs and bark, which requires tough teeth—particularly molars—to grind all that tough plant material, according to Peter Emily, founder of the Peter Emily International Veterinary Dental Foundation. The organization, based in Colorado, provides dental care for domestic and captive animals worldwide.
What about the gorilla’s long, sharp canines? They’re used for display, in particular “to defend against external threats, as well as fend off other male