According to the findings of a group of paleontologists (University of Bristol, UK), teeth are so important that two separate groups of non-related species developed teeth at separate times.
The work focuses on some 200 million year-old condodonts, which were jawless, eel-like creatures. Lead writer paleontologist Philip Donoghue says: “This means that the tooth, as we know it today, had not yet evolved when conodonts broke off from the group of animals that ultimately led to humans. Instead, the tooth-like spurs seem to have evolved twice: once in late conodonts and once in the rest of the vertebrates.”
The image above from Nature uses X-ray tomographic microscopy with laserlike synchrotron radiation that reveals the internal structure and composition of fossils and how their toothlike spurs evolved.
If teeth are important enough to evolve in two separate and non-related species, perhaps they are important enough to protect and maintain.