Have you ever wondered how many teeth do sharks have?
You may already know that sharks have many teeth, especially if you have seen the movie Jaws before. However, exactly how many teeth do sharks have?
There is not only one answer to this question since it depends on the shark’s species. For example, the whale shark has about 200 teeth, but the great white shark has only 50.
Can you imagine going to the dentist’s office to get braces on your 200 teeth? Thankfully – for both the dentist and the shark – these creatures can get by just fine without visiting the dentist and it does not matter if their teeth are crooked.
How many rows of teeth do sharks have?
Unlike us humans that have only one row of teeth, sharks have multiple rows. They can even have up to 15 rows of teeth!
Of course, if they have to fit in 200 teeth in their mouth, they will not be able to be one next to the other. These rows are even mobile because their teeth don’t have any roots; they are just attached to the skin.
The shark’s largest teeth are on the front row, and they get smaller with each other row. But, what is the purpose of this, you may be wondering?
Multiple rows of teeth allow sharks to distribute food among them and therefore have better digestion of their prey.
Other shark teeth features
So, you already know how many rows of teeth do sharks have, but what else is interesting about them that we can point out?
As we mentioned above, shark teeth do not have roots. Therefore, they can lose a tooth very easily.
But, they don’t need to worry about that. In just 24 hours, it can grow back, ready to take another bite.
In fact, one shark can change up to 30,000 teeth during their lifetime! You will not want to be a shark’s tooth fairy, I promise.
Also, sharks are born with teeth. The reason for that is that they need to survive their siblings, even when they are still in the womb!
What else do you need to know besides how many teeth do sharks have?
We have covered how many teeth do sharks have and also how many rows of teeth are in their mouth. So, what else can we learn about these creatures?
You should know that not all sharks have sharp teeth. Two shark species that do not have normal sharklike teeth are the whale sharks and the basking shark.
These sharks use large filters in their mouth to gather up plankton to feed themselves. They do not have sharp teeth because they simply do not need them.
Also, their teeth are similar to human teeth. They both have dentin inside, which is a soft tissue-like material.
Another similarity is that they are covered in hard enamel, like human teeth. Scientists study shark teeth and their characteristics to learn what a particular animal ate and how long ago it lived.
How to find shark teeth?
People have been fascinated about how to find shark teeth for thousands of years. We know this because archaeologists have found ancient tools made of shark teeth.
Since they are so sharp and strong, they served as weapons or spearheads. They were also useful for cutting food, digging, and carving wood.
Venice, Florida, is also known as the “shark tooth capital of the world.” In this place, more shark teeth have been found than anywhere else on the planet.
In fact, Venice holds an annual shark tooth festival! “Each year the Shark’s Tooth Festival highlights fossil collectors from across the southeast who display and sell shark’s teeth and other prehistoric fossils, and more than 100 artists offer their original work”, the festival’s website explains.
If you are into shark teeth, perhaps Venice, Florida, and the Shark Tooth Festival are a great place to start!
How to find shark teeth on the beach? You can comb the sand when the tide is low, and you might get lucky!
California and Australia are other regions on Earth where people usually find shark teeth. If you do, you can wear it as a necklace or show it to your friends.
The giant and ancient Megalodon
Regular teeth are very common to encounter, however, if you were to find a Megalodon tooth, it is your lucky day! The Megalodon is a now-extinct shark that lived from 15.9 million to 2.6 million years ago.
Megalodon means “giant tooth” because this shark was so big that its teeth were about three times larger than that of a modern white shark!
Because this animal has been extinct much before humans roamed the Earth, Megalodon’s teeth are very valuable. They are popular for trading, collecting, and selling for up to $300 each.
Shark’s teeth can fossilize after they fall from the shark’s mouth to the seafloor. There, sandy sediments cover them and protect them from bacteria and rotting.
The minerals in the sandy sediments are absorbed by the tooth and replace the dentine and enamel. This causes the tooth to become a fossil.