Teeth Belonging to Prehistoric Mega-Shark Uncovered in Australia
Teeth Belonging to Prehistoric Mega-Shark Uncovered in Australia
Amateur fossil hunter stumbles upon rare teeth from ancient mega-shark
12 August, 2018, 16:57
Though people have found single shark teeth belonging to the megatoothed shark before, Mullaly's find was the first time a set had been discovered in Australia, and only the third time a set of teeth belonging to the same individual Carcharocles angustidens had been found in the world.
The museum has released its study of the finds this week, and it has confirmed that these are from a great jagged narrow-toothed shark, or Carcharocles angustidens, a 30-foot shark that patrolled the waters off of Australia 25 million years ago.
The museum said the teeth belonged to an extinct species called the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark (Carcharocles angustidens), which could grow to twice the size of a great white.
After his initial find, Mullaly worked with a team from the Museums Victoria, the organization that administrates the Melbourne Museum, to uncover nearly 40 teeth in total between December 2017 and January 2018.
Mullaly's is one of the rarest finds in the history of paleontology, according to Erich Fitzgerald, a palaeontologist at Museums Victoria who led a team to excavate the site where the initial fossils were found. The next time you're on a beach, pay closer attention to the rocks - maybe you'll get lucky and find a prehistoric fossil of your own.
The species, still alive today, likely fed on the remains of the megatooth shark after it died.
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The teeth went on public display Thursday and will remain available to public view until October.
Meanwhile, the sixgill shark teeth uncovered along with the Carcharocles angustidens fossils appear to belong to several individuals, which probably scavenged on the dead mega-shark and lost their teeth in the process.
Paleontologist-a lover Philip Mullaly came across a unique artifact when walking through the countryside, Jan-JUC, located about 100 kilometers from Melbourne.
Fitzgerald said he believes there may be even more shark teeth at Jan Juc and even parts of a spinal column lodged in the cliff, based on what he saw during the excavation.
"The stench of blood and decaying flesh would have drawn scavengers from far around", he said.
"This find suggests they have performed that lifestyle here for tens of millions of years", Museums Victoria paleontologist Tim Ziegler said.
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