Anatomy BSc/MSci

Odontology 4B option BIOL4278

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Odontology is the study of human and animal teeth and is essential for forensics and archaeology. Incisors, canines, premolars and molars have evolved for different functions and, across species, show very marked adaptations to an animal's diet, indeed some animals (e.g. mastodons) are named because of their tooth structure. Teeth are also found as fossils and help to date rock strata in geology. This option will explore several topics including animals that have multiple sets of teeth, teeth of ancient carnivores and examples of rare teeth from living and extinct animals.


This option is assigned to block S2-B. Normally, 3 hours of teaching on Tuesdays. 

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to final-year School of Life Sciences students in an Anatomy or Zoology programme. Visiting students may be allowed to enrol, at the discretion of the School of Life Sciences Chief Adviser and the Course Coordinator. 

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment consisting of a practical skills assessment (25%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to give an overview of the wide range of tooth forms found in modern and ancient species. The course considers how contemporary studies continue to deepen understanding of the diet and evolutionary adaptations of ancient and modern mammals.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

■ Provide an anatomical description of the different types of teeth in the deciduous and permanent dentitions, and give the dental formula, for human and other species; 

■ Discuss with examples of the ways in which teeth of modern species are adapted to diet;

■ Evaluate how teeth have evolved with special reference to particular modern species;

■ Analyse recent publications that give insights into tooth morphology, the evolution of teeth and the diets of ancient species.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.