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The dentary is a dermal bone that forms the antero-lateral part of the lower jaw in fishes and amphibians, extending to the whole lower jaw in mammals[VHOG,modified]. [ ]

Term info



  • dentaries
  • dentary bone
database cross reference


plural term
dentaries [ TAO : 0000191 ]

axiom lost from external ontology

relationship loss: overlaps dentary-anguloarticular joint (TAO:0001749)[TAO]

external definition

The dentary is a dermal bone that forms the antero-lateral part of the lower jaw in fishes and amphibians. In mammals the lower jaw consists entirely of the dentary bone. [Bemis_WE, Functional_Anatomy_of_the_Vertebrates:_An_Evolutionary_Perspective, Grande_L, Third_Edition_(2001)_Orlando_Fla.:_Harcourt_College_Publishers, Walker_WF, ZFA:0000191_and_Liem_KF, p.248][VHOG], Dermal bone that is usually the anteriormost bone of the lower jaw, and that articulates with the angular, or anguloarticular bone, posteriorly, and carries part of the mandibular sensory canal and pore openings of the mandibular sensory canal on its lateral surface. The dentary is a paired bone.[TAO], Ossified element of intramembranous origin that invests the lateral margin of Meckel's cartilage thereby forming the lateral side of the mandible in anurans and salamanders (Duellman & Trueb, 1994:293). In caecilians, the dentary is part of a compound bone termed the pseudodentary.[AAO]

has related synonym

sur-angulaire, dentale, os dentale

homology notes

Of all these bones [dentary, splenials, coronoids, angular, surangular and prearticular], only the dentary remains in the lower jaw of a mammal.[well established][VHOG]



taxon notes

In lobe-finned fishes and the early fossil tetrapods, the bone homologous to the mandible of mammals is merely the largest of several bones in the lower jaw. In such animals, it is referred to as the dentary bone, and forms the body of the outer surface of the jaw. It is bordered below by a number of splenial bones, while the angle of the jaw is formed by a lower angular bone and a suprangular bone just above it. The inner surface of the jaw is lined by a prearticular bone, while the articular bone forms the articulation with the skull proper. Finally a set of three narrow coronoid bones lie above the prearticular bone. As the name implies, the majority of the teeth are attached to the dentary, but there are commonly also teeth on the coronoid bones, and sometimes on the prearticular as well. This complex primitive pattern has, however, been simplified to various degrees in the great majority of vertebrates, as bones have either fused or vanished entirely. In teleosts, only the dentary, articular, and angular bones remain, while in living amphibians, the dentary is accompanied only by the prearticular, and, in salamanders, one of the coronoids. The lower jaw of reptiles has only a single coronoid and splenial, but retains all the other primitive bones except the prearticular.