Happy Fossil Friday!
Friday September 18, 2020
Instructor: Arthur Reed, P.G.
Information from: Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, Kansas
A very common fossil to find, especially in Kansas which was under water during much of the age of dinosaurs (see map below), are isolated shark teeth. In fact, shark teeth are one of the most common vertebrate fossils in the entire fossil record. Sharks have been around for over 450 million years (dinosaurs only 245 to 66 million years ago). They are iconically known to be the oceanís top predator with a very sharp and toothy smile. Sharks have multiple rows of teeth that are constantly falling out and being replaced. A single shark can go through thousands of teeth in a lifetime. For this reason alone, it is no surprise that shark teeth are one of the most common fossils to find and why paleontology collection drawers are full of them. Entire shark fossils not so much because sharks do not have bony skeletons to become fossilized, only cartilage.