Page 31 - June2017

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Photos far right courtesy of fossilforum.com
2017, when the annual Sea-Bean Symposium and
Beachcombing Festival will be held in Galveston for the second
year in a row.
Shark Fossils
Shark teeth are the most common fossil found on the planet,
although they still do not cease to remain a most valuable
find of local beachcombers. Many people search in vain for
years for the elusive shark tooth, often postulating that the
whole concept is a myth. Nevertheless, sharks lose their teeth
naturally throughout their lifetime which means there are
billions of them in every ocean, and Galveston is one of only
three beaches in the nation where they regularly appear.
Sharks have five or six rows of teeth that push forward as they
grow. The teeth in the front fall out and are replaced by the
row behind them, and this continues as long as the shark lives.
This ensures that sharks have new sharp teeth for ripping and
shredding prey. The front teeth often break off from biting into
bones, which is why many teeth are found with the tips missing.
It takes ten thousand years for a tooth to fossilize, and the
teeth found in Galveston can be anywhere from ten thousand
to two million years old. During fossilization, the teeth absorb
sediment that changes the tooth from white to gray, black, or
brown. The sediments in the Gulf of Mexico can also add very
interesting color combinations or patterns made from several
colors.
The most common species of shark tooth found locally is
Carcharias
, which includes Bull sharks, Duskies, and Blacktip,
although the teeth of hammerheads are not unusual. Among
the nine total species of hammerhead, the ones most often
found are from Great Whites, Snaggletooth, Mako, Sand,
Lemon, and Tiger Sharks. On very rare occasion a Megalodon
will appear, but those are more likely to be found along Florida
coasts. Most shark teeth species can be identified based on the
shape, size, root shape and serrations.
The place to look for shark teeth is in the thick shell hash, or
broken shell piles, that form on the beach. Strong currents can
bring shell hash in at different locations. You just have to be
aware of it and look through it carefully when you find it. Lately,
a common source of bull shark teeth has been Babes Beach
Great
White
Shark
Tooth
LeMON AND SAND TIGER TEETH
FOUND IN GALVESTON AND CRYSTAL BEACH
BULL SHARK TEETH
FOUND IN GALVESTON AND CRYSTAL BEACH
HAMMERHEAD SHARK TEETH
FOUND IN GALVESTON AND CRYSTAL BEACH
JUNE 2017 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
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