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The NaturePlus Forums will be offline from mid August 2018. The content has been saved and it will always be possible to see and refer to archived posts, but not to post new items. This decision has been made in light of technical problems with the forum, which cannot be fixed or upgraded.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the very great success of the forums and to the community spirit there. We plan to create new community features and services in the future so please watch this space for developments in this area. In the meantime if you have any questions then please email:

Fossil enquiries: esid@nhm.ac.uk
Life Sciences & Mineralogy enquiries: bug@nhm.ac.uk
Commercial enquiries: ias1@nhm.ac.uk

Identification

2 Posts tagged with the how_to_guide tag
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Hello newcomer!

 

Many visitors seem to have troubles registering to our ID forum, or they register and don't know how to start posting enquiries, how to attach photos, etc.

 

If you have the same problems, please download the pdf guide attached here and follow the step-by-step advice in it.

 

Looking forward to seeing your posts on the forum,

 

Florin

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A beginner's guide to how we identify a surprisingly common enquiry: mammoth and elephant teeth.

 

elephant tooth web.jpg

This tooth above was a family heirloom brought in for ID this week. Many elephant and mammoth teeth that are brought in are heirlooms that have been knocking about the house for a couple of generations. This is an Asian elephant tooth. It is a molar, so it's a grinding tooth.

 

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The grinding surfaces of an Asian elephant tooth (left) and an African elephant tooth (right) in the Museum's Mammals gallery. The African elephant tooth has a more diamond shaped pattern to the grinding surface.

 

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And the elephants themselves in the Mammal gallery - African (left) and Asian (right). Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and their teeth are smaller on average too.

 

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On the left, a mammoth tooth. On the right, a modern Asian elephant tooth.

 

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Mammoth tooth. This was dredged up by a fisherman from the North sea and brought to us for ID. Mammoth teeth have a similar grinding surface to the Asian elephant, so look different to the grinding surface of the African elephant. And mammoths are indeed more closely related to Asian elephants than African elephants!

 

Mammoth and elephant teeth can be very fragile and tend to crack downwards as you can see here. This can leave isolated plates instead of the whole tooth.

 

Hopefully you can now begin to identify elephant and mammoth teeth!