One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The anterior bone of the lower jaw which bears the teeth. In mammals it forms the whole of the lower jaw (or mandible).
- ‘This tusk may be associated with the left dentary of the old animal.’
- ‘Mammals are unique among extant vertebrates in possessing a lower jaw formed by a single bony element, the dentary.’
- ‘Even at first glance, the shape of the four-inch-long bone and the linear arrangement of tooth sockets told us that this was a dentary, or tooth-bearing portion of a lower jaw.’
- ‘Associated remains found with this skeleton consist of acid - etched vertebrae and a fragmentary dentary from juvenile hadrosaur dinosaurs.’
- ‘During mammalian evolution, the lower jaw became just one bone, the dentary, with the articular no longer attached to the lower jaw.’
Mid 19th century: from late Latin dentarius, from Latin dens, dent- ‘tooth’.
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