Honors Program Theses


Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Nathan Bird, Honors Thesis Advisor


Teeth; Anatomy, Comparative;


Tooth morphology varies across species, specifically across dietary niches. The need for species within the same dietary niche to have similar functions from their teeth opens the possibility for patterns to be observed. Previous studies have examined the anatomy of teeth across many different vertebrate species, as well as tooth integration within the jaw, which correlate with diet. This current study examines patterns of variation among tooth types and among species across various metrics, including crown height, root depth, enamel thickness, and dentin thickness. The main focus of this study is examining the relationship between form and function as it relates to tooth structure and dietary niche. Micro-CT was used to examine tooth structure non-destructively. The results of this study support the hypothesis of correlation between tooth structure and diet, including increased root depth in herbivores and granivores relating to their need for strength in crushing and grinding their food, and increased enamel in insectivores relating to the processing of insect exoskeletons. While most comparisons of tooth morphology are narrowed, the results from this study provide needed information regarding broader evolutionary trends, and highlight the need for broader research in this area.

Year of Submission



Department of Biology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (36 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download