If you take good care of your teeth and have good oral health practices, including making regular visits to your Evansville dentist Dr. Max Lingo for checkups, your teeth will last you a lifetime. But 25 million years? That’s a long time for a tooth to last.
According to CNN, amateur fossil enthusiast Phil Mullaly found a shark tooth that old when he saw something embedded in a boulder at Jan Juc, a renowned fossil site along Victoria’s Surf Coast in south Australia, in 2015.
Scientists have confirmed his hunch that the teeth he found that day are all about 25 million years old and belonged to an extinct species of mega-toothed shark called the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark (Carcharocles angustidens).
The ancient shark was believed to be twice the size of the great white shark at 30 feet long. The teeth Mullaly found were around 2.75 inches long.
Mullaly’s is one of the rarest finds in the history of paleontology, with just
three (sets of) fossils of its kind on the entire planet.
Sharks can lose up to a tooth a day but finding multiple teeth from a single shark is extremely rare, but the archeology team that investigated the find found more than
40 different specimens.
The team also found teeth belonging to several different Sixgill sharks (Hexanchus).
Researchers believe those teeth were from smaller sharks that fed on the carcass of the much larger animal which had died. Sixgill sharks still live off the Victorian coast today.
The team investigating Mullaly’s fossil find has finished their field research and are now working to learn more about how the teeth of the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed shark developed in order to better understand its evolutionary history.
Take good care of your teeth and they’ll last a lifetime, maybe even millennia in fossil form!