Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
What is included
This chapter aims to introduce a wide range of tooth forms, to act as a starting point for identification of archaeological remains, items in museum collections, or zoological specimens. It includes only the teeth of mammals and confines itself to the Holarctic zoogeographical region, and the neighbouring oceans. The idea of dividing the main land masses of the world into broad faunal zones including a range of vertebrates and invertebrates is most strongly associated with Alfred Russel Wallace (1876). The Holarctic region runs in a band around the north of the globe, including Europe, North Africa, and the non-tropical parts of Asia, North and Central America. Various definitions are used and, in this book, the southern boundary follows the line given by Corbet (1978). In Africa, this includes only those countries with a North African coastline. In Asia, it includes the whole of Arabia, Iran and most of Afghanistan, the Himalayas and the high Tibetan plateau, lowland China north of the Hwang Ho river and all the Japanese islands except for the southernmost in the Ryuku archipelago. Together, the European, African and Asian part of the Holarctic comprise the Palaearctic region. The Nearctic part of the Holarctic includes the whole of Canada and the United States of America, together with the northern desert region of Mexico (Hall, 1981). In all, there are 59 families of mammals with members living in the Holarctic land area.