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J Morphol. 2007 Jan;268(1):33-49.

The homology and phylogeny of chondrichthyan tooth enameloid.

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Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1RJ, UK.


A systematic SEM survey of tooth microstructure in (primarily) fossil taxa spanning chondrichthyan phylogeny demonstrates the presence of a superficial cap of single crystallite enameloid (SCE) on the teeth of several basal elasmobranchs, as well as on the tooth plates of Helodus (a basal holocephalan). This suggests that the epithelial-mesenchymal interactions required for the development of enameloid during odontogenesis are plesiomorphic in chondrichthyans, and most likely in toothed gnathostomes, and provides phylogenetic support for the homology of chondrichthyan and actinopterygian enameloid. Along the neoselachian stem, we see a crownward progression, possibly modulated by heterochrony, from a monolayer of SCE lacking microstructural differentiation to the complex triple-layered tooth enameloid fabric of neoselachians. Finally, the occurrence of fully-differentiated neoselachian enameloid microstructure (including compression-resistant tangle fibered enameloid and bending-resistant parallel fibered enameloid) in Chlamydoselachus anguineus, a basal Squalean with teeth that are functionally "cladodont," is evidence that triple-layered enameloid microstructure was a preadaption to the cutting and gouging function of many neoselachian teeth, and thus may have played an integral role in the Mesozoic radiation of the neoselachian crown group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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