Beaked Whale Identification Guide
Tooth position
Tasmacetus shepherdi is the only member of Ziphiidae that has functional tooth rows in the maxilla and mandible. These teeth have bulbous roots that sit upon platforms of spongiform bone in shallow alveoli. There are between 17 to 27 pairs of erupted teeth in both upper and lower jaws of males and females.

Tooth exposure
A larger anterior pair of mandibular teeth erupts in males, but not in females. These teeth are located at the apex of the mandible. The non-apical teeth erupt above the gumline in both males and females.

Tooth shape
These teeth are somewhat conical with an enlarged base that varyingly produces an asymmetric pear shape. The lateral profile of tooth is convex proximally, then concave and straight distally. Greatest length for adult male apical teeth is 41 mm, greatest antero-posterior diameter 24 mm, and greatest transverse diameter 16 mm.
Tasmacetus shepherdi - Left apical tooth - lateral view
Adult female - USNM 484878
NMNH | Vertebrate Zoology | Marine Mammal Program | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement | Contact Us | Copyright ©2007 Smithsonian Institution