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Shark Teeth

Updated on December 7, 2014

The story of Fossil Shark Teeth

One of the most enduring success stories from evolution is that of the shark. They're older than dinosaurs, 200 million years older, and the story of their continued survival is an epic tale.

From Wobbegong to Great White, the sharks we see today are the end result of hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary adaptation. While sharks are certainly ancient, there's nothing at all primitive about their modern descendants.

Today there are over 400 species of these highly-specialised predators, with sharp teeth, strong jaws, streamlined bodies, and powerful senses. Who isn't afraid of sharks?

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But there's something special about finding a shark tooth.

It's not just an exciting relic to add to your collection-- it's a fossil!

Finding Fossil Teeth

I found a shark tooth!

I found a shark tooth when I was 12, as I was idly wandering along the sands of my lovely Port Phillip Bay. There are still plenty more teeth out there!

Most of these teeth have emerged from eroding coastal cliffs where they have been locked away as fossils for many millions of years. Rich fossil deposits are found in a number of coastal locations, like the cliffs at Black Rock within Port Phillip Bay.

The teeth most frequently found are from two of the largest sharks of early seas, the massive Fossil Great White Shark, Carcharodon megaolodon, which may have grown to 12 metres or more, and the somewhat smaller Fossil Mako Isurus hastalis. Teeth of the Great White have been found measuring more than 18 cm in length!

Hunting For Shark Teeth

Photo : A Tooth from the Carcharodon carcharias, Pliocene epoch, from the Huarra Formation, Antofagasta in Chile. Approx 3 million years old.

More fossil hunting areas:

Cliffs at Beaumaris, Victoria, Australia

Lee Creek Mine, Aurora, North Carolina, USA

Sharktooth Hill, Bakersfield, California, USA

Calvert Formation, Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, USA

When you find a Shark Tooth

Handle with care

The most exciting way to collect shark teeth is to collect them yourself, in the field.

First find an area that's known for shark teeth and other fossils. Most commonly these are sand pits and beaches.

Walk along the site and keep your eyes peeled for fossils. When you find one, pick it out with a shovel and sieve, or use a common garden fork.

Many sites provide hard, solid teeth. These are typically worn down because of being frequently moved and redeposited in different areas before settling in one location. Some places, though, yield perfect teeth that have hardly been moved during the long ages. Be careful! These teeth are typically fragile, so treat them gently while excavating.

Identifying Shark Teeth

Identifying shark teeth is difficult. This has a lot to do with the teeth being damaged, worn, and from different species but it gets even more difficult because of the so-called "In-Between Teeth". These are teeth that are from a shark species that was evolving into another, different species.

Get yourself a book on sharks teeth , such as Fossil Shark Teeth of the World and attempt to identify it yourself. (You can always ask an expert at your local museum).


The Big Tooth

The megalodon, meaning "big tooth" was a giant shark that lived in prehistoric times, between about 18 million to 1.5 million years ago and was the top predator of its time.

It's the largest carnivorous fish known to have existed and quite possibly the largest shark to have ever lived - fossil evidence tells us that megalodon fed upon large animals, including the early whales.

This shark lived during the Miocene and Pliocene eras, roughly about 16 to 1.5 million years ago. Its teeth on average range between 1.5 to 6.5 inch in length. But the largest teeth of this shark are more than 7 inch long. These huge teeth indicate that the megalodon could grow up to more than 16 m (52.5 ft) long, growing bigger than the largest fish alive in the world today, the whale shark.

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Is the Megalodon still with us?

Perhaps ....

Megalodon teeth have been discovered that possibly date to more recent times, perhaps only 10,000 years ago and cryptozoologists argue that this shark might still be alive today!

We once thought the coelacanth and the megamouth shark to be extinct. Are there megalodons in the deep waters of the Pacific?


Get your own Great White

This Great White Shark T-shirt has its front almost covered with a massive Great White, looking fierce and appearing to propel itself through the water leaving bubbles in its wake.

Great White Shark T-Shirt

$21.60 from Australian Native.

Show your Teeth

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    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      This is a great lens! I love sharks, and the extinct Megalodon is one of my favorite ancient animals to learn about.

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      I love sharks... to look at... from a distance. New teeth every week.... scary

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      What a fun hobby. I am not sure if we would find very many of these on the U.S. beaches, but I will look next time I am walking.

    • DonMiguel1 profile image

      DonMiguel1 4 years ago

      This is a great lens. I would love to come to Australia to learn more about your Great Whites. We are just beginning to learn more about ours here off Cape Cod, MA USA!

      Thanks for the info

    • profile image

      perso 5 years ago

      The only acceptable thing for me is Shark T-shirt:)

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      My aunt lives near Clearwater, Florida and she has quite the collection of shark teeth.

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      My aunt lives near Clearwater, Florida and she has quite the collection of shark teeth.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Megalodon...this is something new to me. We used to gather shark's teeth when we go for holidays in Florida but i did not know much about it. I know more now after reading your lens.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Megalodon...this is something new to me. We used to gather shark's teeth when we go for holidays in Florida but i did not know much about it. I know more now after reading your lens.

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 5 years ago

      Like the megladon tooth!

    • Burningwoodarts profile image

      Burningwoodarts 5 years ago

      Great lense :)

    • profile image

      JimDickens 5 years ago

      The most fascinating behavior I ever saw in a shark was when we lived in Florida near West Palm Beach. Several of us were on a fishing pier and saw a hammerhead stick his head out of the water and look at the people on the pier. And he was not hooked -- he was just curious

    • ottoblotto profile image

      ottoblotto 5 years ago

      We used to live on the North Carolina coast. We would pick up shark's teeth from the gravel in our driveway, and in parking lots around town where locally mined rock had been put down. Scanning the ground for "black triangles" became second nature.

    • iWriteaLot profile image

      iWriteaLot 5 years ago

      That second image you have that shows the rows of shark teeth is pretty fierce looking. It looks like it's basically just a killing machine, which I guess it IS, but it's pretty scary to think there's something that big out there, with those ferocious looking teeth, and all it's thinking about is eating.

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 5 years ago

      This lens brings back memories! I worked at a children museum where we had the jaws of 3 sharks, showing the rows of teeth. ~ Always found it amazing. I was envious too since I've had so many probs with my teeth. LOL

    • victoriuh profile image

      victoriuh 5 years ago

      I found shark teeth in Florida. So neat! Thanks for sharing :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Enjoyed stopping by to see your article, thank you for the write up!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Shark teeth are so darn sharp and cool!

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      Fossils are so cool! Blessed!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Pretty amazing how HUGE that Megalodon tooth is. I'm sure I'd be able to find sharks' teeth somewhere on a beach near me, but haven't found any yet.

    • Darkskeleton LM profile image

      Chris 5 years ago

      It would be cool if they discovered something like the Megalodon in the ocean depths. The world doesn't have enough gigantic animals

    • mary lighthouse15 profile image

      mary lighthouse15 5 years ago

      A close up of shark sharp teeth is scarry. Thanks for the information about shark teeth.

    • BusyMOM LM profile image

      BusyMOM LM 5 years ago

      Fun lens! We used to find shark teeth in our creek in the back yard believe it or not. Just tiny ones...

    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 5 years ago

      My uncle Mark told me how when we were living with them when I was in 2nd grade we would hunt shark teeth on the edges of the Potomac River by Washington, D.C.

    • Mistl profile image

      Mistl 5 years ago

      I actually had no clue that Sharks teeth would be a collectors item. Very interesting lens! :)

    • TrentAdamsCA profile image

      TrentAdamsCA 5 years ago

      Delightful! I learned a few things -- now I have to go to Bakersfield to hunt for shark teeth. Thanks for the insightful and detailed lens. Great images and fascinating text -- inspiring.

    • desa999 lm profile image

      desa999 lm 5 years ago

      Nicely balanced lens on a scary subject. Good job.

    • spartakct profile image

      spartakct 5 years ago

      Nice information! Amazing creatures

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      I would be thrilled to find a shark tooth fossil. Though I find animal teeth near my home, none of them are related to marine species. I found this lens extremely interesting. Thank you for this learning opportunity.

    • profile image

      ThomasJ4 LM 5 years ago

      I studied marine biology in college and I love sharks, as well as this lens. I was very excited to see that somebody else has also written about Carcharodon megalodon! Great work Susanna.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 6 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I always feel it's hard luck on sharks that they have to live in the sea and people don't because they get blamed when they attack people who must look just like any other prey to them. Very interesting page - blessed.

    • profile image

      mavens 6 years ago

      Sharks have the most powerful jaws on the planet. Unlike most animals' jaws, both the sharks' upper and lower jaws move.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Awesome lens on Shark facts! Sharks most certainly are among the best predators!

    • profile image

      anilsaini 6 years ago

      I like sharks and any information regarding them, Nice lens

    • oceanfaerygoddess profile image

      oceanfaerygoddess 6 years ago

      Fabulous lens! I love hunting for fossils and sharks teeth, one of my favourite places for that here in England is the Isle of Wight - sharks teeth and dinosaur bone paradise! Fascinating read and love the pics too.

    • OldStones LM profile image

      OldStones LM 6 years ago

      This is a great lens. How cool would it be to find a megalodon tooth the size of the one pictured above. I am not in the right area though here everything was scrapped away by glaciers during the last ice age. Thank You I really enjoyed reading.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      My parents spend part of their year on Amelia Island, Florida, and they find numerous shark teeth along the beach there.

    • AceofHearts profile image

      AceofHearts 6 years ago

      Sending some thanks your way. What a great lens! Of course you have many. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 6 years ago from Connecticut

      I've lived along the New England coast for all of my life, and I'm still looking to find my first shark tooth. But I enjoy the search and walking the beaches.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Nice subject. We live hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, but there are fossil teeth in our state.

    • profile image

      aardvarkapparel 6 years ago

      I use to collect shark teeth as a kid on Florida beaches during vacations. This brings back some memories!

    • CarynJSwift56889 profile image

      CarynJSwift56889 6 years ago

      It's my first time to see the pic of shark teeth

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      Fascinating and I can see why people would like this as a pendant. Just can't bear them (Sharks) nor snakes either. I would have got a sharks tooth pendant in my youth however, if I had known about them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      An amazing story of these amazing sea creature shark teeth, I did not know that we there were such interesting facts about the shark teeth.

    • profile image

      resabi 6 years ago

      Thought you'd like to know that this lens is featured in my Ten Intriguing Collections lens. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • profile image

      cuteBJ 6 years ago

      very interesting lens. I love reading it

      megalodon tooth sale

    • profile image

      resabi 6 years ago

      Fascinating information. I didn't know anything about shark teeth before reading this lens so I really thank you for expanding my horizons. Blessed and will be listing this lens in my Winging It lens under Other Collections.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      I have a whole jar full of shark's teeth that my Dad had collected over the years.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 6 years ago from California

      This is a great resource for collectors...I have some shark teeth, one a pre-historic one (at least I think it is) and will now check on it. Loved this..Blessed by the Collecting Angel :)

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      My son is obsessed with Sharks. I am going to show him your lens tomorrow, he will love it as much as I did.

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 6 years ago from California

      oooo, yet another lens that's simply cool. That Megalodon tooth photo is just incredible, even if you know of the species! Somehow, even though I had a good kid's book on sharks, I hadn't learned or had forgotten the factoid that the teeth are rooted in flesh. No wonder they break off and embed so easily.

      Now you've inspired me to dig around in my parents' house over Christmas. Somewhere there is a film canister with all the shark teeth I collected as a kid.

      Oddly, I've never found any shark teeth since I moved near the ocean, even though sharks are right off the coast of southern California. In fact, there was a lethal Great White attack up the coast from me just last week. Yikes!

    • howdoyouspellst profile image

      howdoyouspellst 6 years ago

      Shark teeth are very cool! Nice lens.

    • TheGoodSource101 profile image

      TheGoodSource101 6 years ago

      My least favorite part of the shark are the TEETH!

      As a surfer that's the part we try to avoid!!!!

      They are amazing creatures....

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 7 years ago from Canada

      Great lens, Susanna. My children would have loved to find a tooth from a shark.

    • TacTac profile image

      TacTac 7 years ago

      What an interesting lens, loved reading it.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

      Fascinating. Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • profile image

      oldbird 7 years ago

      What a neat lens to stumble upon!! This is really, really interesting stuff and five stars just for doing a lens on it! In Hawaii, and probably elsewhere for that matter, shark's tooth pendants were a big thing... your lens brought back some cool memories!

      Thanks, and aloha!


    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 7 years ago

      My husband and I have lots of shark teeth that we have found on the beach in Venice, Florida. It is only a 20 minute drive from our house. This is a delightful lens.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 8 years ago

      Wow, the Megalodon is one terrifying beast! I had a sharks tooth someone gave me, but it was nothing like that.

    • raswook profile image

      Jeff Wendland 8 years ago from Kalamazoo, MI

      Wow, those megalodon teeth are HUGE! Could you imagine if they were still in our oceans.

      Blessed by a squid angel

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 8 years ago

      Great lens! When I volunteered at a science museum once upon a time, we had a collection of shark jaws with teeth from different kinds of sharks. We would show them to the kids and families. It always amazed me that you could see the multiple rows of teeth! 5*s!

    • CollectorsCottage profile image

      CollectorsCottage 8 years ago

      Cool stuff! Welcome to the Collector Clubs group!

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens. Very interesting.

    • MikeMoore LM profile image

      MikeMoore LM 8 years ago

      You've done an excellent job with this lens. 5 stars and I'm lensrolling it to my Megalodon lens. :)

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      [in reply to utradesports] Thanks for your kind comments - especially when I haven't finished this lens yet :) I took it over from someone else and I'm now in the process of rewriting and restructuring.

    • utradesports lm profile image

      utradesports lm 8 years ago

      Excellent lens. I never realized that there was so much to learn about shark's teeth. 5/5