Understanding Shark Teeth - Why Do They Vary So Much?

Why there is so much variety in shark teeth? Why sharks have so many teeth? Why shark teeth are easier to find but not a skeleton? There are some of the fascinating questions that new fossil collectors often have when they start collecting shark teeth. Well, depending on the food source, meaning what the sharks eat, their teeth tend to vary. Because different sharks feed on different things, we see dissimilarities in their teeth design. Their evolution over millions of years has also contributed to it.

Various Types of Sharks and Reasons Behind their Unique Teeth Design

Tiger and Snaggletooth shark teeth are sharp, serrated on the upper jaw, and hooked on the bottom. They are highly efficient sheering and tearing tools. Small bottom-dwelling sharks, such as Port Jackson sharks have teeth designed for crushing, usually shellfish, which it finds among the rich kelp grounds in Australian waters. The teeth of the Greenland shark are sharp — so sharp that they were once used by Eskimos as tools for cutting hair. Woebegone uses its angled teeth and lightning-fast lunge-feeding technique to grasp its prey. The Mako and Sand Tiger shark feed on fish and have pointy teeth designed to grab and hold slippery prey so it can't get away. The White shark, Bull shark, and Reef sharks feed on larger animals, which is why they have more saw-shaped teeth designed for taking bites out of larger prey.

Megalodon Shark Teeth

Megalodon shark has a special mention because they had the biggest teeth of any shark known — even bigger than a whale. Although the species have gone extinct, their teeth are considered the sharpest of all and still a topic of research. Also, the shark had essentially an unending supply of teeth.

Some Interesting Facts About Shark Teeth

  • Sharks continuously lose teeth throughout their lifespan.
  • To replace lost teeth, sharks have rows of teeth folded back into the tissue of the jaw. Some even have up to 15 rows of replacement teeth.
  • In some sharks, as many as six thousand razor-sharp teeth are lost and replaced every year.
  • Replacement teeth can sometimes rotate into the fronted position — within 24 hours

If you are into fossils and looking for Snaggletooth shark teeth, get in from Buried Treasure Fossils. We have one of the largest collections of shark, dinosaur, fish, or other fossil collectibles.