Salamanders can chew

Salamanders can chew

They had studied the alpine crested newt (triturus carnifex), which belongs to the true salamanders. Researchers proved that great crested newts actually chew prey such as earthworms, muck larvae, snails or small fish – but unlike most land-dwelling vertebrates. According to this, the newts use their so-called palatal dentition to kill the prey and break it open at the same time. The prey was rhythmically rubbed against the palate with the tongue. There were very sharp teeth that were up to a millimeter long and were constantly growing back. The jaw teeth, on the other hand, serve to catch and hold on to the prey.

The biologists were surprised that a newt moved its head, jaws and tongue when it ate. Until now, experts had assumed that amphibians – of which the great crested newt is one – cannot chew. Studies in the rontgen video facility at the institute of zoology and evolutionary research at the university of jena then finally brought proof that the animals chew. The researchers have evidence that other salamanders can do this as well. Very similar barely mechanisms were found with original mammals like echidnas and platypus.