aff. - abbreviation of the Latin qffinis; indicates a specimen that is similar to, but not identical to another species.


aka - also know as.

anterior - toward the head. Usually referring to the front teeth

apron - a medial extension of the enameloid over the labial face of the root.

arthropods - Arthropods are characterized by the possession of a segmented body with appendages on each segment.

axial - along the major line of symmetry.

basal - away from the tip or apex of the crown.

basal groove  -  a slightly depressed,  generally narrow area of the root along the basal  margin of the enameloid.

basal margin - Area where the root and crown meet

basal notch - an indentation of the basal margin of the root

Batoids (Rays, Skates, Guitarfishes, and Sawfishes) -The 470 species of this diverse group of fishes have in common a flattened body with expanded pectoral fins fused to the head (the "wings" in rays).

Biostrome - A flat-bedded, fossil, reef like structure.

Bilobate - Divided into or having two lobes

bivalve - Bivalves are mollusks belonging to the class Bivalvia. They typically have two-part shells, with both parts being more or less symmetrical.

brachiopod - Both brachiopod shells are symmetrical as individual shells, but they differ in shape from each other.

branchial - relating to the gills

calcified cartilage - cartilage that has been hardened with the mineral deposits.

Campanian - age during the Late Cretaceous. 73 - 83 mya.

Cephalic - Located on, in, or near the head.

cephalopods - a class of mollusks containing squid, cuttlefish and octopus.

Cephalothorax - The fused head and thorax of spiders and crustaceans.

cf.   -  abbreviation of the Latin confer,  meaning "compare with." Also used to indicate
"Compares favorably to".

Chitin - a carbohydrate that forms part of the exoskeleton

Class - a group of all orders sharing the same common ancestor.

CretaceousThe final period of the Mesozoic era. 144 - 65 mya
Early or Lower Cretaceous - 144 to 97 mya
Late or Upper Cretaceous - 97 to 65 mya

crown - the enameloid covered portion of the tooth

crustaceans - a group of aquatic arthropods, including shrimp, crabs, and lobsters.

cusp - crown of tooth, or one point of a multi-cusped crown.

cusplet - a small, enameloid covered projection lateral to the basal margin of the crown.

cutting edge - the portion of the coronal margin developed for slicing flesh

Devonian - geological period during the Paleozoic Era. 417 - 354 mya


Distal - the edge of the tooth towards the back/posterior of the mouth


enamel - an extremely thin, shiny covering.


enameloid - smooth, glossy covering of the crown, cusplets.


Eocene - epoch during the Cenozoic Era. 54.8 - 33.7 mya


epoch - a division of geological time; subdivision of a period.


era - major division of time during the Earth's history.

extant - still living.

foramen - An opening or hole into the root.

genus - the name of an organism is composed of two parts: its genus name (always capitalized) and a species modifier. An example is Homo sapiens; sapiens, the name for the human species which belongs to the genus Homo.

Gastropods - The gastropods or univalves, are the largest and most successful class of mollusks, with 60,000-75,000 known living species. This class contains a vast number of marine and freshwater species as well as many terrestrial ones. Species include not only the snails and slugs, but also abalone, limpets, cowries, conch and most of the other animals that produce seashells.

invertebrate - any animal that lacks a vertral column, or backbone.

In situ - In its natural position or place.

in-vivo wear - worn down while the animal was still alive.

Jurassic - The middle period of the Mesozoic era. 206 - 144 mya

K/T boundary - A layer that was deposited around the entire globe approximately 65 million years ago. This layer marks the K/T boundary, the end of the Cretaceous (K) and beginning of the Tertiary (T) periods. It is best known as the time when not only the dinosaurs, but nearly half of all life forms became extinct.

lateral - to the side, usually referring to the side teeth.

lingual the inner surface of the tooth toward the tongue.

lingual protuberance - a pronounced medial projection on the lingual surface of the root.

longitudinal - parallel to the main axis of the crown.

Maastrichtian - last age within the Late Cretaceous 70 - 65 million years ago

medial - toward the middle.


Mesial - the edge of a tooth towards the front/anterior of the mouth


Mesozoic - era, 248 - 65 million years ago.


Miocene - epoch within the Cenozoic Era. 23.8 - 5.3 mya.


Neogene - a division of the Cenozoic Era encompassing the Miocene and Pliocene epochs.


notch - A groove situated on the top of the root.

nutrient groove - medial groove on inner surface of root.

Nutrient pore - A small circular opening on the root

Occlusal view - Viewed from the top, or looking down at the top

Oligocene - epoch during the Cenozoic Era. 33.7 - 23.8  million years ago.

Paleocene - epoch within the Cenozoic Era. 65 - 54.8 million years ago.


Paleogene - a division of the Cenozoic Era encompassing the Paleocene, Eocene and Oligocene epochs.


Parasymphyseal teeth - Where right and left jaws meet, small symmetrical and asymmetrical teeth may be found in many species of sharks.


Pelecypod - any mollusk of the class Pelecypoda (Lamellibranchiata), characterized by a bivalve shell enclosing the headless body and lamellate gills, comprising the oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops.

Plication - an angular or rounded shape made by folding


Pleistocene - last epoch within the Cenozoic Era. 1.8 million - 10,000 years ago

Pliocene - epoch within the Cenozoic Era. 5.3 - 1.8 million years ago

posterior - toward the rear. Usually referring to the back teeth.

Pseudopods - One of the three locomotion modes of unicellular organisms (together with flagella and cilia). Pseudopods can also capture prey.

primary cusplet - cusplet nearest the crown.

Pycnodonts - Small to medium-sized bony fish with round, flattened teeth that are well adapted for crushing food items.

recurved - arched lingually.

root - non-enamelated portion of the tooth that forms the attachment to the jaw.


root angle - the angle formed at the basal margin of the root between the root lobes.

root lobe - a prolongation of the root end.

scutes - Rays have body armor (scutes) under their skin on certain places of their bodies.

serrate - having the appearance of the toothed edge of a saw.

shoulder - narrow , enameloid covered extension of the crown onto the margin of the root lobe.

species - distinctive, interbreeding group of individuals.


sp. = singular abbreviation for species.


spp. - plural abbreviation for species.

Triassic - Period of the Mesozoic Era: 213 to 245 mya
Late Triassic 231 to 213 mya
Middle Triassic 245 to 231 mya
Early Triassic 248 to 245 mya

stratigraphic - refers to the study of the origin, composition and distribution of sedimentary horizons.


stratigraphic origin a term most often used indicating where a specimen was found.

striation - fine raised line on the surface of the crown.


Symphyseal teeth - A single tooth positioned at the anterior midline of the jaw, usually in the lower jaw but may occur in the upper jaw; they usually look like miniatures of the first anterior teeth.

unconsolidated - refers to sediments that have not been transformed into stone.

vertebra - one of the hard segments that collectively form the backbone.

vertebral centrum - hardened central disc forming main body of a vertebra.

vestigial structures  of organisms in a species, which have lost much or all of their original function through evolution.

Vomerine In fish, the dental plates or teeth at the front of the upper jaw.

Uvula - The uvula is described variously shaped like a U, a tear or a grape. Its name comes from the Latin word for "grape," uva.