See these fearsome fangs? They just won the record for sharpest teeth of all time. Funny thing is, they're invisible (without a microscope).
With tips only one-twentieth the width of a human hair, these minute munchers belonged to an ancient, eel-like animal known as a conodont, which died out about the time dinosaurs began their reign, 200 million years ago.
Each tiny conodont, only about two inches long, had a paired set of these precise pincers but neither the bony jaws nor the strong jaw muscles most blunter-toothed beings use to bite down on bits of food. So, how did they eat?
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Paleontologist David Jones of the University of Bristol in the U.K. says the unbeatable sharpness of conodont teeth is precisely what made them so effective.
"In most big animals with teeth embedded in bony jaws, sharp teeth would quickly break and wear down under the pounding they would suffer under those large forces," Jones told Discovery News. "In small animals by contrast, especially those without jaws, only tiny forces could be brought to bear on food, so it seems teeth must be very sharp to concentrate these forces efficiently."