Dolphins have teeth — about 80 to 100 of them — which they use to trap prey. Their prey generally consists of fish that they swallow whole rather than chewing. Dolphins’ teeth are conical in shape, and they have only one set during their lifetimes, unlike humans, who first have baby teeth that they lose before getting their permanent teeth. As dolphins age, their teeth grow longer from under the base of the gums down further into the roots, so marine biologists often examine the length of a dolphin’s teeth from the gums to the roots in order to determine its age. It is estimated that dolphins grow one layer of tooth under the root each year.
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