That’s not a joke, honest (although if you have a punchline for it, leave us a comment!).
Judy Hinchliffe, a forensic odontologist (dentist) for the Wellington region, visited Te Papa’s lab today to take a closer look at the sunfish’s teeth.
It’s a little unusual for Judy as her day job is using dentistry to identify human remains. But fittingly for a woman who spends all day examining dental records, she’s fascinated with teeth and wanted to take a closer look at our unusual sharp-tail sunfish specimen.
Sunfish teeth are actually fused together to form a “beak”, which helps sunfish to hold onto their slippery jelly fish prey.
Bizarrely they do have long, claw-like teeth further down their throat, close to their gills, that scientists think are used to grind their food into smaller pieces.
Take a look at this rather gruesome picture of a common (ocean) sunfish’s teeth in situ:
Check back later in the week for a Q&A with Judy as we find out why she is so fascinated with teeth!
Watch sunfish science live!
Te Papa’s scientists will be conducting research on our sunfish specimen on 13 August 2013. We’ll be live-blogging and sharing the scientists’ findings through Facebook and Twitter.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to sit in as scientists do their research on these rarely seen animals. Don’t miss out!
Read our sunfish science blogs.
Use #sunfishtepapa to join in the conversation on Twitter.