Humans Could Develop BEAKS Like Pufferfish Because Our Teeth Are 'No longer Fit For Purpose', Claims Scientist
For anyone who has regular trouble with their teeth, science has some good news.
Humans could one day grow beaks, a biologist has predicted.
Unlike teeth, a beak would not rot, chip or fall out. This would make it ‘more robust and practical’, said Dr Gareth Fraser.
The bad news for anyone dreading an imminent trip to the dentist, is that the change – in which the teeth would fuse together to form a tough, pointy beak – is several million years away.
Dr Fraser, a biologist at Sheffield University, is interested in why humans make only two sets of teeth – baby teeth and adult ones – while some creatures create an endless supply.
A shark, for instance, will grow new teeth around once a fortnight.
And pufferfish, or blowfish, constantly produce the tooth-like material that their beak is made from, meaning any wear and tear is rapidly patched up.
Dr Fraser will tell a conference in Barcelona this month that he has identified the cells behind this constant regeneration.
Nicknamed ‘tooth fairy’ cells, they could hold the key to allowing us to grow set after set of teeth.
Dr Fraser said: ‘I guess people will be looking at whether you can make perfect teeth.
'But there will always be orthodontists employed because even when you have new teeth, there is going to be a need for positioning.’
He added: ‘With our extended lives and modern diets, the limited supply of human teeth is really no longer fit for purpose.