Dental divergence between armadillos and bandicoots
Euphractus sexcinctus photo © Charles J Sharp
Isoodon macrourus photo © John O'Neill
Medium-size armadillos are the approximate American counterparts for the marsupial bandicoots of Australia and New Guinea. Two obvious intercontinental divergences are the extreme armour of armadillos and the extremely brief gestation of bandicoots. Less well-known is the fact that armadillos have ever-growing cheek-teeth whereas bandicoots – although their diet is presumably equally gritty – do not. A possible explanation for this difference is that armadillos are at greater risk of predation, forage in greater haste, and consequently contend with more grit while eating, than is the case for bandicoots.
Robin and the Honey Badger, 8 January 2017