A family next door decided to bring the toughest pet home, geese. We all were invited to welcome a pair of geese in the neighborhood. We were warmly invited to spend some time with geese.
While examining and spending time with this newest addition to the neighborhood, a friend of mine shouted surprisingly “look what I just noticed, geese have teeth”.
We all got surprised as we have been taught in school that birds do not have teeth, they have beaks. So, this dramatic appearance in this bird’s mouth made us all curious.
To settle the debate and find out the truth, we decided to gather around and prove the books wrong.
Our research and discussion kept going for hours, the fact we agreed on was more surprising than we thought it would be.
As this mystery is now revealed to us, we have decided to enlighten our readers here as well.
So without further ado, allow us to reveal this mystery.
Do Geese Have Teeth?
No, for the record, geese do not have teeth if we see it from the logical point of view. Geese have teeth if we prefer believing what we have just noticed.
So, if you believe teeth are what we use to catch and eat things up, geese might have teeth as they use this sharp pointy part of their mouth to catch and eat their food.
If you picture teeth somewhat like enamel-covered human teeth then unfortunately like all birds, geese have been deprived of that.
Pretty confusing right? Here is the truth
The small, sharp, and pointy things appearing in the mouth that we most usually take as teeth are not teeth in any sense.
White Geese are categorized as birds and birds can not have teeth for a legitimate reason.
This sharp and pointy thing that appears on the geese’s or ducks tongue that serves the similar way as teeth can’t be taken as teeth at all.
The scientists and researchers call this serrated feature of the geese mouth something else, definitely not teeth.
Geese and Duck are Just Toothless
The two most closely related birds geese and ducks are both toothless, ducks have a comb-like structure whereas geese have been blessed with a serrated feature called tomia.
If it’s not teeth despite serving the same as teeth, what is this sharp point teeth-like feature?
After reading the shocking-above mentioned information most of our readers might have been wondering if the said teeth-like features are not teeth, what are they then? Well, it’s not teeth but “tomia”.
Tomia, as defined in the books, is a serrated feature that can vary in size and shape. The size and shape of this serrated feature called tomia depend on the bird’s diet.
In this waterfowl’s case to some animals and birds admirers, it appears teeth-like.
Why Can’t Tomia be Considered Teeth?
Even if tomia start appearing teeth-like, they still can not be taken as teeth at all. There are several reasons why we can not consider tomia as teeth. Let’s have a look;
- It is not a separate part of the body
- Tomia is not as durable, and functional as teeth
- It’s not made from enamel, pulp, dentin, or cementum
Tomia is a part of the beak and tongue, it’s not a separate part of the body like teeth are
It might sound even more surprising to you that there are so many things that distinguish tomia from teeth.
Teeth are regarded as a separate part of the human or animals body whereas, tomia a serrated feature, is a part of geese’s beak and tongue.
Tomia can’t be called teeth because they are not as durable, and functional as teeth
The human and animal’s teeth are quite strong, durable, and functional whereas the teeth-like features appearing in the geese’s mouth can not be taken as teeth because the said part of the body has to be sharp, strong, functional and of a certain size to be called teeth.
How can tomia be taken as teeth when it isn’t made from enamel, dentin, pulp, or cementum?
The teeth mammals have are made up of four different types of tissues called enamel, dentin, pulp, or cementum.
Whereas, the teeth-like features appearing in the geese’s mouth are made up of cartilage. So, when tomia are not made up of enamel, dentin, pulp, or cementum how would they be taken as teeth?
Characteristics of Geese’s Tomia
Even if tomia takes the shape of teeth, it can still not be taken as teeth at all
Yes, we know it’s quite surprising but it’s 100% true. As mentioned above, the size and the shape of tomia are based on the bird’s diet so if miraculously this serrated feature takes the teeth shape and geese start using it for the same purpose, we can still have to call it tomia, not teeth.
Humans and almost all animals have been blessed with teeth and the birds have beaks instead
Most mammals have been blessed with teeth, it’s just platypuses, anteaters, and some whales that do not happen to have teeth.
The birds are just unique in all senses, they have beaks for the same purpose as we have teeth.
Even if the geese did not have tomia, their beak would have been enough to do the job efficiently. They would have demanded anything to catch or chew food.
Tomia might not be as sharp as teeth but still, they are tough and sharp enough to chew food
If this teeth-like feature can not be taken as teeth, it still serves the same as teeth do. They are sharp and tough enough to rip through the grasses, aquatic vegetation, and small animals.
So, even if geese have not been blessed with teeth, these birds do not need it as tomia are performing the job quite well.
Tomia is super sharp that a mild geese bite can draw blood
If we try to judge the geese’s interior mouth structure closely, we would get to know that tomia that appear harmless are super sharp, that you have to avoid getting bitten by geese.
The tomia are sharp enough that a mild geese bite can easily draw a pool of blood. It’s one of the reasons why most feel threatened to be around the geese.
Geese might not have teeth because tomia offer better grip
We have teeth because they suit our needs better but geese require grasses, grains, roots, and tough low growing vegetation to survive.
Besides that, they have to eat insects and rodents as well. Eating all that would not have been possible without tomia and the rigid lining on their tongue.
If they had teeth, it would not have been possible for this poor little bird to grab and eat all that stuff.
Tomia do not just offer better grip but also help geese in tearing and uprooting the food from the soil.
If they had not tomia, the beak that birds use to have an access to food would have been useless as well.
Geese and other birds used to have teeth, where did they go?
\Whether birds had teeth or not is a little doubtful as we do not find any such photos and satisfactory information about it.
From the information, we extracted from the books of history, geese and other birds used to have functional teeth.
They disappeared probably because of their lifestyle or poor diet about a hundred million years ago. Even if geese had back then, they are toothless now.
In brief, geese do not have teeth, they have tomia. Tomia is a serrated feature that looks exactly like teeth. It’s sharp and pointy enough to grab and eat tough vegetation and small insects.
Though it appears similar to teeth, it can not be taken as the said part of the body. It’s because tomia are not made from enamel, dentin, pulp, or cementum, it is not as durable and functional as teeth, and a part of the tongue.
- Serrate Tomia: An Adaptation for Nectar Robbing
- Geese teeth Research