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Durophagy is the eating behavior of animals that consume hard-shelled or exoskeleton bearing organisms, such as corals, shelled mollusks, or crabs.[1] It is mostly used describing fish, but is also used when describing reptiles[2] and invertebrates, as well as "bone-crushing" mammalian carnivores such as hyenas.[3] Durophagy requires special adaptions, such as blunt, strong teeth and a heavy jaw.[4]

Durophagy in carnivorans[edit]

In the order Carnivora there are two dietary categories of durophagy, bonecrackers and bamboo eaters. Bonecrackers are exemplified by hyenas and saber-toothed cats, while bamboo eaters are primarily the giant panda and the red panda. Both have developed similar cranial morphology. However, the mandible morphology reveals more about their dietary resources. Both have a raised and dome-like anterior cranial, enlarged areas for the attachment of masticatory muscles, enlarged premolars, and reinforced tooth enamel. Bamboo eaters tend to larger mandibles, while bonecrackers have more sophisticated premolars.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Huber, D.R., M.N. Dean & A.P. Summers (2008): Hard prey, soft jaws and the ontogeny of feeding mechanics in the spotted ratfish Hydrolagus colliei. Journal of the Royal Society Interface(online publishing) [1]
  2. ^ Pregil, G. (1984): Durophagous Feeding Adaptations in an Amphisbaenid. Journal of Herpetology 18, No. 2 pp 186-191 [2]
  3. ^ Tseng, Z. J.; Wang, X. (2010-08-26). "Cranial functional morphology of fossil dogs and adaptation for durophagy in Borophagus and Epicyon (Carnivora, Mammalia)". Journal of Morphology. 271 (11): 1386–1398. ISSN 0362-2525. PMID 20799339. doi:10.1002/jmor.10881. 
  4. ^ Huber, D.R. & al. (2005): Analysis of the bite force and mechanical design of the feeding mechanism of the durophagous horn shark Heterodontus francisci. The Journal of Experimental Biology 208, pp 3553-3571 [3]
  5. ^ Figueirido, Borja; Tseng, Zhijie Jack; Martín-Serra, Alberto (July 2013). "Skull shape evolution in durophagous carnivorans" (PDF). Evolution. 67 (7): 1975–1993. PMID 23815654. doi:10.1111/evo.12059.