Elephants eat such
coarse vegetation, they need enormous teeth for grinding up their
food. They possess single upper and lower molars on each side of
their jaw that are about 3 inches wide and 6 inches long!
Jaw section of elephant skull, showing upper and lower molars
these teeth have a limit. Over many years, the rough
vegetation gradually wears them down, and they break apart
and fall out. When this happens, new teeth which have been
developing at the back of the jaw move forward to take their
place. Itís a bit like adult teeth taking the place of baby
teeth in humans. However, in elephants the new teeth come
from the back, not underneath. And, more significantly, the
process repeats itself up to five times over the course of
an elephantís lifetime. This is one of the many adaptations
that allow elephants to live very long lives.