Carnassials are large teeth used for shearing flesh and bone in a scissor- or shear-like way. They are found in many carnivorous mammals,
In the Carnivora, the carnassials are the modified last upper premolar and the first molar. In the Creodonta, the carnassials were further back in the jaw–first upper and second lower or second upper and third lower molars.
Wear and cracking of the carnassial teeth in a wild carnivore (e.g. wolves, lions) may result in the death of the individual due to starvation.
Images for kids
Comparison of carnassial teeth of wolf and typical hyaenodontid and oxyaenid
A comparison of the size and shape of carnassial teeth in: [A] bear (Ursus), [B] leopard (Panthera), [C] dog (Canis), [D] badger (Meles), [E] otter (Lutra), [F] raccoon (Procyon), [G] mongoose (Herpestes), [H] weasel (Mustela). Photo taken at Imperial College London.