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Sept 6 Cafe – Chew on this

East Bay Science Cafe

The evolution of tooth eruption in mammals

with Tesla Monson

Wednesday September 6, 2017 at 7:00 PM
Restaurant Valparaiso, 1403 Solano Ave. Albany

Why do we have wisdom teeth? And why do so many people need to have them extracted? Teeth are extremely important biological structures that act as a physical interface between mammals and their environment. A great deal is known about the biology of how teeth erupt into the mouth. However, there still remains significant disagreement on the factors driving the evolution of tooth eruption in mammals. To address this, Dr. Monson examined the teeth of more than 8,000 animals at museums in the United States, South Africa, and Ethiopia. Her research investigates the relationship between tooth eruption and traits like body size, longevity, and litter size. For the East Bay Science Café, Dr. Monson will talk about why teeth are so important and discuss what the timing and sequence of tooth eruption can tell us about humans as well as other mammals.

Evolution of tooth eruption in mammals

Dr. Tesla Monson

Dr. Tesla Monson is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley and is currently teaching IB35AC, Human Biological Variation. Her research focuses on the evolution of mammalian variation, particularly of the skeleton and teeth. Tesla’s work has taken her around the world to look at museum collections of extant and fossil animals. Tesla is also the host and producer of The Graduates on KALX 90.7 FM, a radio talk show featuring graduate student research at Cal and promoting diversity in the sciences.

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