At Elasmo-Morph, we clean and prepare the teeth of many types of Shark species including:
Most people will see more shark teeth in their lifetime than they will ever see sharks, as in most cases people will either see fossilised teeth or fresh teeth, either in shops or museums. Because their enamel is so hard, there is an incredible abundance of fossilised teeth, combined with the fact that sharks replace their teeth continuously throughout their lifetime. Depending on the species, they can lose them every 8-10 days or up to 1 month for other species. Sharks can lose at least one teeth every week of their life, and can grow a brand new one as little as 24 hours.
Shark teeth are composed of an outer layer of very hard enamel called calcium phosphate, surrounding an inner core of dentin, which is a soft tissue-like material. Shark teeth do not have roots, unlike human teeth. They are set in the jaw bay a tissue which allows them to fall out and be replaced by teeth right behind them, all in a row. Scientists use to believe that sharks replaced their teeth when one broke or fell out. New research has shown that sharks continuously replace their teeth throughout their lifetime.
Depending on the species of shark, they can have as little as 250 teeth or up to 3,000 in the Basking shark and Whale shark.
The largest teeth are found usually in White sharks, with some teeth up to 6.5cm in height.
Sharks, depending on the species, will usually only use one row at a time. Sharks such as Port Jackson, have pavement-like teeth which are used to crush molluscs and hard shells. They would use the whole of the pavement like teeth at he back of the jaw.
A section of the lower jaw from a Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier).
Sharks teeth have always held a value, whether monetary or used in trade amongst tribes and collectors. Most people would have had they r first encounter with sharks teeth in tourist shops overseas, looking at gleaming white jaws and small plastic packets with shark teeth in them being sold for a few dollars. However the serious collectors who trade in high quality teeth know the value of such teeth, whether they be modern teeth or fossilised ones.
The most precious and valuable teeth which most people seek are those from the White shark (Carcharodon carcharias), which can fetch a few thousand dollars for each tooth. These sharks are now protected and therefore their jaws and teeth are not available for sale, however they are still found in antique stores and through old collections and are sold for high prices.
White shark teeth are considered a prize possession amongst collectors, with the very large teeth going for thousands of dollars. IN many instances the value of a White shark jaw is greater if the teeth in it were sold separately.
Megalodon teeth in excellent condition also seen for eye watering sums of money, with the larger ones (6”+) going for thousands of dollars. Serious collectors are always looking at the best possible teeth available for purchase and seek them from all over the world.