Rock hyraxes know no way to gnaw



Heterohyrax brucei photo © Siegmund K. M.


Kerodon rupestris photo in the Public Domain



The yellow-spotted rock hyrax of Africa is in many ways convergent with the rock cavy of South America, but the two have extremely different teeth. In rock hyraxes, no tooth continues to grow while cutting food, whereas in the rock cavy virtually all the teeth do so. This difference is explained by the fact that rock hyraxes, competing with many other herbivores ranging from rock hares and klipspringerss to large ungulates, reproduce and grow extremely slowly compared with the rock cavy. Rock hyraxes consequently have relatively limited appetites and focus rather on self-defence than grinding of food.
Robin and the Honey Badger, 8 January 2017

Heterohyrax brucei skull
Heterohyrax brucei dentition structure

Heterohyrax brucei skull
Kerodon rupestris skull
Cavia porcellus skull
Cavia porcellus skull