All enthusiasts of paleontology from Australia have something to be excited about, as a set of teeth belonging to an ancient gigantic shark has been found on a beach some 100 kilometers from Melbourne. This shark, which could grow up to nine meters long, was terrorizing the oceanic waters of what is now Southern Australia some 25 million years ago.
Nine meters long mega-shark
The fossil was discovered by Philip Mullaly, who is passionate about paleontology, while he was searching for fossils not far from the famous great Ocean Road. Immediately after he saw the tooth, he contacted Museums Victoria to let them know about the finding. As it was confirmed by Erich Fitzgerald, a senior curator of vertebrate paleontology, the seven-centimeter-long teeth belong to a long extinct species called the great jagged narrow-toothed shark (Carcharocles angustidens). This great predator was twice as big as the great white shark, being nine meters long, and was mostly eating small whales and penguins.
According to the scientists, this discovery is significant, as this set of teeth belonging to Carcharocles angustidens is the third known worldwide and the first found in Australia. Besides these three findings, only single teeth of the mega-shark were uncovered. This is because sharks can lose even one tooth a day and their skeletons are made of cartilage, which is hard to fossilize.
The scavengers and the carcass
The scientists suspected that more teeth could be found in the same place, so the team of paleontologists led by Fitzgerald went on two expeditions to the site, finding more than 40 teeth in result. These belong not only to Carcharocles angustidens, but also to much smaller species, the sixgill shark (Hexanchus), the scavenger that has survived until today. As scientists say, the sixgill’s teeth were from several sharks, which most likely were feeding on Carcharocles angustidens’ carcass. This means that the sixgill shark’s behavior has not changed much for tens of millions of years.
Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here