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Sharks are well-known marine predators – and their sharp chicks come with the area.
Some shark species can have hundreds of thousands of teeth at a time that are continually plucked or broken off by eating prey, according to National Geographic.
Marine biologist Jillian Morris explained in a National Geographic report that sharks lose their teeth in a conveyor belt-like system. Teeth are constantly falling out and growing back.
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“More teeth are always developing in her jaw and progressing to replace missing teeth,” she said.
“It’s a great design.”
Since sharks can lose up to 50,000 teeth in their lifetime – and have done so for more than 400 million years – there are plenty of neglected teeth to be found.
Modern-day teeth can be found on the beaches of America, while fossilized shark teeth are more likely to appear in specific locations, especially formerly underwater places.
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Some shark teeth that may have fallen to the ocean floor and solidified into sedimentary rocks over time resurfaced as coastlines changed over millions of years.
Erosion from ocean waves often erodes surface rock – exposing fossilized teeth.
Flowing waters in the banks of rivers can also lead to the discovery of fossils, as well as exposed slopes where erosion occurred.
East coast beaches in states like Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are best for spotting fossilized shark teeth, as these areas were once submerged.
Venice, Florida, is often considered the “shark tooth capital of the world.”
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Professor of paleobiology Kenshu Shimada shared with National Geographic that because more teeth can be found in smaller amounts of rock in these areas due to slower sediment growth, shark tooth hunters are more likely to get lucky.
West Coast beaches are not so lucky in terms of producing fossilized teeth, but shark teeth can still be found in modern times.
Tips to hunt you down
National Geographic recommends searching local areas from coast to coast that were once covered by the ocean, in order to increase your odds of finding hidden treasures.
Before setting out on the hunt, bring a toothpick or bucket with you.
It is advisable to leave early for the beach, as well as search during low tide or after a storm, when the ocean has shaken things up.
Looking for teeth takes a lot of patience.
National Geographic suggested searching slowly, especially if you’re taking young children with you on the trip.
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More teeth can be revealed under the wet sand as the waves crash into the shore, so bring a small shovel to dig deeper.
Sandy areas with shells and other debris can mask small teeth that look like dark, shiny triangles; It can be the size of a fingertip.
The color of a shark’s teeth can tell you a lot about its origin.
Most fossilized teeth are black or brown, while some contain red or green shades of minerals in the sediments, National Geographic also shares.
Teeth that are light in color or white usually mean that the teeth came from a modern shark.
The teeth of a shark are identical to that of a shark’s prey, so it can be easy to determine its origin.
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For example, the serrated and curved teeth belonging to the tiger shark can tear the shells of sea turtles – while the strong and very sharp teeth of the great white are intended for crushing seal bones.
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