Tooth evolution in primitive fishes from structures similar to dermal denticles in skin of modern sharks contributed to the success of vertebrates. Teeth of fishes ancestral to higher vertebrates were simple cones useful in holding prey. In the Permian, teeth of some pelycosaurian reptiles began to differentiate by appearance of canine-like fangs. Further differentiation followed among the mammal-like therapsid reptiles. Modernized triangular teeth with three main cusps first appeared in the Cretaceous. From Paleocene onward, molars were progressively specialized functionally in relation to feeding habits.

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