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How snake fangs evolved to perfectly fit their food

By Silke Cleuren, PhD candidate, Monash University
Alistair Evans, Associate Professor, Monash University
David Hocking, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology and Palaeontology, Monash University
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Few structures in nature inspire more fear and fascination than the fangs of venomous snakes.

These needle-like teeth are used by snakes to pierce their prey and inject deadly venom. With more than 3000 species of snake inhabiting our world, we wondered: are all their fangs the same? Or are their fangs differently shaped depending on what they eat, as we find in other animal groups?

To uncover the answer, we examined the three-dimensional shape of snake fangs in 81 species and found that fangs have indeed evolved to suit the snake’s preferred prey, from hard-shelled crabs…

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