There is usually a short gap between the canine and first premolar; the upper molars are short-crowned and transitional between the bunodont (tubercular) and selenodont (crescentic) types, with two outer concave tubercles and two inner conical ones; while the lower molars are crescentic, with three lobes in the last of the series..
The full typical series of 44 teeth was developed in each, but whereas in the Periptychidae the upper molars were bunodont and tritubercular, in the Pantolambdidae they have assumed a selenodont structure.
As regards the teeth, we have the passage of a simply tubercular, or bunodont ((30vv6s, a hillock) type of molar into one in which the four main tubercles, or columns, have assumed a crescentic form, whence this type is termed selenodont (v€X vn, the new moon).
It is noteworthy, however, that in some instances there appears to have been a retrograde modification from the selenodont towards the bunodont type, the hippopotamus being a case in point.
As regards classification, the first group is that of the Pecora, or Cotylophora, in which the cheek-teeth are selenodont, but there are no upper incisors or canine-like premolars, Pecora.
The cheek-teeth are selenodont, and one pair of upper incisors is retained, while some of the anterior premolars assume a canine-like shape, and are separated from the rest of the cheekseries.
The cheek-teeth are selenodont, as in the two preceding groups; there are no upper incisors, but there are long, narrow and pointed upper canines, which attain a large size in the males; the lower canines are incisor-like, as in the Pecora, and there are no caniniform premolars in either jaw.
The upper molars, which may be either selenodont or buno-selenodont, carry five cusps each, instead of the four characteristic of all the preceding groups; and they are all very low-crowned, so as to expose the whole of the valleys between the cusps.
The Dichobunidae include the genus Dichobune, of which the species were small animals with buno-selenodont molars.
Xiphodon and Dichodon represent another type with cutting premolars and selenodont molars; while Caenotherium and Plesiomeryx form yet another branch, with resemblances to the ruminants.
The most interesting genera are, however, the Upper Oligocene and Lower Miocene Gelocus and Prodremotherium, which have perfectly selenodont teeth, and the third and fourth metacarpal and metatarsal bones respectively fused into an imperfect cannon-bone, with the reduction of the lateral metacarpals and metatarsals to mere remnants of their upper and lower extremities.
The molars are partially selenodont in the typical genus Anthracotherium, with five cusps, or columns, on the crowns of those of the upper jaw, which are nearly square.
In Ancodon (Hyopotamus) the cusps on the molars are taller, so that the dentition is more decidedly selenodont; the distribution of this genus includes not only Europe, Asia and North Africa, but also Egypt where it occurs in Upper Eocene beds in company with the European genus Rhagatherium, which is nearer Anthracotherium.
On the other hand, in Merycopotamus, of the Lower Pliocene of India and Burma, the upper molars have lost the fifth intermediate cusp of Ancodon; and thus, although highly selenodont, might be easily modified, by a kind of retrograde development, into the trefoil-columned molars of Hippopotamus.
In the European Miocene we have Hyotherium and Palaeochoerus, and in the Upper Oligocene Propalaeochoerus, which have square molars without any tendency to a selenodont structure in their cusps.
Curiously enough a selenodont type is, however, apparent in those of the imperfectly known Egyptian Geniohyus of the Upper Eocene, the earliest species which can be included in the family.
In the cheek-teeth the component columns are crescent-shaped, constituting the selenodont type.
The crowns of the molars belong to the crescentic or selenodont type, and are tall-crowned or hypsodont; but one or more of the anterior premolars is usually detached from the series, and of simple pointed form.
The dentition comprises the typical 44 teeth, of which the molars are short-crowned, with four crescentic cusps on those of the upper jaw (selenodont type).
The molars are less completely selenodont than in the type genus.