Build a lesson around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk or YouTube video
Create a Lesson

How did teeth evolve? - Peter S. Ungar

  • 358,006
    Views

  • 3,359
    Questions Answered


Let’s Begin…

You may take them for granted, but your teeth are a marvel. They break up all your food over the course of your life, while being strong enough to withstand breakage themselves. How do they do it? Peter S. Ungar traces the evolution of mammalian molars from primitive cone-like structures to the myriad forms of today’s species, from lions to cows to people.

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Peter S. Ungar
  • Director Felipe Grosso
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Art Director Shuggie Laufquen
  • Animator Shuggie Laufquen, Mateus Contini, Kelvin Lima
  • Editor Shuggie Laufquen
  • Storyboard Artist Shuggie Laufquen
  • Illustrator Shuggie Laufquen, Ricke Ito, Kelvin Lima
  • Character Designer Shuggie Laufquen
  • Modeler Daniel Freire
  • Sound Designer Vadeco Schettini
  • Composer Vadeco Schettini
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox, Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

Additional Resources for you to Explore
Our teeth are amazing structures. They have to break food without breaking themselves--and they chew up to millions of times over the course of our lifetimes. They are also built from the raw materials that come from those very foods. We can think of chewing as a perpetual death match in the mouth, with plants and animals developing tough or hard tissues for protection, while teeth evolve ways to sharpen or strengthen themselves to overcome those defenses.

That said, who among us has perfect teeth? Many of us have dental issues, like cavities, periodontal disease, impacted wisdom teeth, and other orthodontic problems. Other mammals tend not to have these same issues. What makes us so different? Part of the answer seems to lay in the fact that our ancestors did not evolve to eat the kinds of foods we feed our kids today. The educator of this lesson, Peter Ungar, wrote an article for the online magazine Aeon that discusses this idea further. 

Customize This Lesson

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Peter S. Ungar
  • Director Felipe Grosso
  • Script Editor Emma Bryce
  • Art Director Shuggie Laufquen
  • Animator Shuggie Laufquen, Mateus Contini, Kelvin Lima
  • Editor Shuggie Laufquen
  • Storyboard Artist Shuggie Laufquen
  • Illustrator Shuggie Laufquen, Ricke Ito, Kelvin Lima
  • Character Designer Shuggie Laufquen
  • Modeler Daniel Freire
  • Sound Designer Vadeco Schettini
  • Composer Vadeco Schettini
  • Associate Producer Elizabeth Cox, Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

test

Stay Updated

Log In to Take or Create a Lesson

Log In to participate

Please Log In or Register to Apply

Please Log in to Access Leader Resources

If you have already logged into ted.com click Log In to verify your authentication. Click Register if you need to create a free TED-Ed account.
Log In    Register

Enter your name

Your name and responses will be shared with TED Ed.

To track your work across TED-Ed over time, Register or Login instead.