About 2 years ago I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a large White shark jaw that came from an old collection (early 1980’s).
The jaw was in reasonable condition, although a number of tooth files are de-laminated. The teeth are quite large, with the upper principle tooth being 55mm in height, measured in a straight line from the base of the root to the tip. The upper jaw perimeter is 1000mm, making this a shark of approximate 15 feet in length.
As these jaws are now becoming increasingly difficult to source, and seeing the White shark has achieved protected status since 2000, I thought it would be a good idea to get this jaw replicated, together with all its teeth. The availability of such a jaw would offer a tremendous opportunity for both researchers, museums and research institutes, allowing them to have a teaching resource without the huge outlay and the mountains of paperwork.
Such a project is quite involved and the level of intricacy in casting such a specimen is extremely high. I don’t believe this can be achieved accurately using 3D technology, as I know from experience that the serrations achieved on the teeth with normal casting techniques, would never be matched with 3D technology.
Once the jaw is accurately measured and the spacings between the teeth is measured, the jaw is soaked in solution, and the teeth attached to the jaw are all removed. These teeth are labelled, and are then gently simmered in water to remove the connecting tissue and enable each tooth to be un-attached to the one next to it.
The teeth are then placed in a very weak solution of whitening agent to clean and disinfect them, and then rinsed and air dried. The teeth are carefully aligned and each row has its own number and spacings details.
Once the jaw has been thoroughly cleaned and whitened, it is placed on a wooden board to air dry.The jaw is then repaired of any cracks or holes, and then the process starts.
A whole cast of the jaw is made. Not having the teeth in the jaw ensures the mold is perfect and all the details of the jaw itself are accurately reproduced. From that cast, then another mold is made, this time cutting the jaw in half so each half of the jaw can be placed inside a vacuum chamber to ensure the final cast is 100% free of any air bubbles.
All the teeth, around 240 of them, are going to be cast in a special epoxy. The colour of the teeth enamel will be different from the colour of the root. The teeth are not painted, as the pigment is placed inside the resins.
It is envisaged the jaw will be cast in two pieces which will then be able to be clicked into place, making transport easier.
The teeth will all be attached to the jaws and can also be sold either separately, or as a display showing the front row of both the upper and lower jaw.
At this stage the price for such a jaw is expected to be AUD$5,500 plus packaging, shipping and postage costs.
If you’re interested in owning your very own restored white shark jaw, please register your interest by emailing me on this site, or on: email@example.com