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Carnassials are large teeth found in many carnivorous mammals, used for shearing flesh and bone in a scissor- or shear
Shearing (physics)
Shearing in continuum mechanics refers to the occurrence of a shear strain, which is a deformation of a material substance in which parallel internal surfaces slide past one another. It is induced by a shear stress in the material...

-like way. In the Carnivora
The diverse order Carnivora |Latin]] carō "flesh", + vorāre "to devour") includes over 260 species of placental mammals. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, while the word "carnivore" can refer to any meat-eating animal...

, the carnassials are the modified last upper premolar
The premolar teeth or bicuspids are transitional teeth located between the canine and molar teeth. In humans, there are two premolars per quadrant, making eight premolars total in the mouth. They have at least two cusps. Premolars can be considered as a 'transitional tooth' during chewing, or...

 and the first molar
Molar (tooth)
Molars are the rearmost and most complicated kind of tooth in most mammals. In many mammals they grind food; hence the Latin name mola, "millstone"....

, but in the prehistoric creodonts, the carnassials were further back in the jaw–first upper and second lower or second upper and third lower molars. These teeth are also referred to as sectorial teeth.

Wear and cracking of the carnassial teeth in a wild carnivore (e.g. wolves, lion
The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

s) may result in the death of the individual due to starvation.