When people consider shark fossils, it is the teeth that grab the attention. However, many other parts of their body can become fossilised, the centres of the vertebra, jaw cartilage, fins and the rostral node in a shark’s snout. The shark’s skin is made of tiny denticles which whilst part of the skin is composed of similar material to its teeth. Shark coprolites (faeces) are sometimes found.
Teeth are the most popular and common shark fossil collected. The teeth preserve quite week due to their high level of dentin and surrounded by a very hard enamel shell. Dentin is harder and denser than bone and does not decompose easily.
Shark shed their teeth every few weeks going through anywhere between 25,000 to 50,000 in their lifetime. Just like us, sharks have teeth of varied sizes and shapes for specific purposes: crushing, grasping and cutting.
For more information on Shark fossils see our blog post Shark fossils
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