Shark teeth are probably the most seen and known parts of a shark, followed by their jaw. Most small curio shops around seasides have containers filled with shark teeth, both modern and prehistoric.
People recognise shark teeth as soon as they see them, yet are only familiar with a small number of different teeth from the most well known sharks – Bull sharks, Mako sharks, Tiger sharks and Blue sharks, and of course White sharks.
In fact there are hundreds of different species of sharks, all with their own specific tooth shape.
The most known, and sought after tooth is the one from the White shark (Carcharodon carcharias). These sharks have been protected since the late 1990’s, therefore the majority of legal teeth on the market are from old collections. These teeth can get up to 2″ (50.8mm) in height and they are formidable to hold and watch in action. They are serrated, which means they are meant for cutting prey, reflecting the diet of the White shark, based pretty much on both fish and sea mammals, such as seals.
The enamel on the teeth themselves is quite thin, hence why in some instances of attacks, the investigators discover fragments of teeth in either the victim or the surfboard or kayak. The teeth can shatter, due to the incredible force of the jaw (it has been estimated that a 10ft (3.048 metres) shark has a bite power of around 3 metric tons per square centimetre. These measurements were only taken under controlled laboratory testing, and I would say that in the wild the bite could be probably considerably more, depending on a variety of factors. Nonetheless, the combination of both the bite pressure and the teeth themselves, cause a lot of damage to the victim.
At Elasmo-Morph, all the teeth I source from White sharks are from old collections. Jaws have been held onto as family heirlooms, and suddenly are sold once the true value of such items is realised. Over the years, the price of both jaws and teeth from White sharks has soared, leading unfortunately to a black market for such items which at times would have lead to the killing of such animals illegally. Therefore all the teeth that are sold by me, all have a CITES certificate, which allows the teeth to be imported into Australia and then re-sold overseas.
AUSTRALIA & INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING
CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species), prevents (to a certain degree) the commercial sale of illegally acquired items across international borders. Before a certificate is issued, the governing body needs to make sure the item in question (whether a jaw or a tooth) has been acquired prior to the animal being placed on the endangered list. Unless a certificate has been issued, it is very difficult to be able to import or export the jaw or tooth into another country.
Many collectors and sellers take short cuts and either buy or sell without the proper documentation. This can lead to confiscation of the item by the authorities and severe penalties are issued. Not worth the pain doing something like this.
The certificates usually take an average of between 4-6 weeks to be issued, and before the jaw or tooth can be posted, the client will need to contact the relevant authorities in their country and alert them to the fact they will be receiving a CITES specimen. In most cases, if the item has a pre-convention certificate (it was caught prior to it being protected), there is no paperwork or documentation required from the client. If it has another code on the certificate, it is best to contact the local authorities, showing them a copy of the certificate and ensuring there are no steps the client needs to take to ensure the item arrives safely and is released by the authorities with no issues.
If you wish to purchase White shark teeth that are 100% legal and will come with the correct paperwork, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to furnish you with further information, together with photos, measurements and prices. We also have reproduction copies of some of the largest White shark teeth, including a giant specimen caught in New Zealand in the late 1800’s.