The north Pacific is home to a predatory fish called Pacific lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus). Lingcod may grow as long as 5 feet, although the average length is 20 inches (50 cm). The jaws of the dreadful Pacific lingcod are lined with dozens of rows of vicious teeth.

Teeth of a fish
(Photo : Getty Images)

How the Mouth of Pacific Lingcod Functions 

According to recent research, Pacific Lingcod that has about 555 teeth is losing an average of 20 teeth every day. The teeth of this fish are nothing like that of humans, its teeth are very tiny and razor-sharp.  

For starters, forget all you know about your own mouth in order to have a better idea of how the mouth of a Pacific lingcod works. This kind of fish has hundreds of teeth that are very tiny in size instead of incisors, molars, and canines.

Hundreds of microscopic dental stalactites cover their hard palate. Additionally, the fish have pharyngeal jaws, which they use to chew their food the same way that humans use molars, according to LiveScience.

Emily Carr, the study's principal author, and Karly Cohen, a PhD candidate in biology, investigated the bony fish to figure out how much of their teeth they had lost.

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Mouth of Pacific Lingcod vs. Mouth of Mammals

As bizarre as it is when the Pacific lingcod's mouth is compared to mammalian mouths, Cohen believes it is an excellent species to research since it has a rather normal mouth for a bony fish.

Furthermore, teeth may be used to tell us about an animal's diet. Teeth, on the other hand, are the most numerous item in the fossil record for many species, according to Cohen. It's possible that their teeth are the sole evidence of their species' existence for others.

It's apparent that fish lose a lot of teeth based on the abundance of discarded teeth. In Cohen's view, the difficulty was that researchers actually had no idea how much 'a lot' meant.

At the University of Washington's laboratory, they gathered the teeth of 20 Pacific lingcod.

Deeper Examination

It was necessary for researchers to come up with a new strategy since Pacific lingcod teeth are so little that they couldn't be seen if they are at the bottom of the tank.

A red dye was placed in the aquarium where the fished are, and this caused the teeth of the fishes to become red. Fluorescent green dye was then added to a new tank where the teeth were stained again. Over 10,000 teeth were found on the caged fish, according to Carr's total count. 

Carr told the website that he had to work in a dark room under a microscope, looking at teeth.

Scientists also discovered that, as in humans, tooth replacement in lingcods follows a preset pattern, meaning that new teeth always have the same shape and size.

Ms. Cohen and her colleagues believe that their research will aid in the understanding of fish dentition and spur on more research into this fascinating animal. A deeper examination of the sheepshead fish's mouth is something that Dr. Evans hopes will be done by researchers.

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