Shark week is one of our favorite times of year. We love how fascinating shark teeth are! In some ways they’re similar to ours, and in others they’re wildly different. Check out this short video on shark teeth and let us know what other animal teeth you’re curious about!
Shark teeth, like our teeth, have a central “pulp cavity” surrounded by dentine and hard enamel.
Shark teeth leave behind a fossil record just like our teeth. Scientists have come to know about prehistoric sharks based only on the shape and size of fossilized teeth!
Unlike us, sharks have more than one row of teeth. They act like a conveyor belt, rotating in spaces that need filling.
Why do spaces need filling? Well, sharks continuously shed their teeth! One species of shark, the ground shark, sheds almost 35,000 teeth in one lifetime. It replaces those that fall out with their other rows of teeth. A tooth can be replaced in as little as 24 hours!
They can have five to 15 rows of teeth at one time. This makes their jaw extremely strong!
Shark teeth don’t have roots like our teeth do. So, they are much more likely to fall out or break while they’re eating.
The specific shape of a shark’s tooth will depend on its diet. Sharks that eat more crustaceans will have flattened teeth adapted to crushing prey. On the other hand, sharks that feed on fish will have more sharpened teeth for catching fish.
The Megalodon had about 276 pointed teeth fixed in five rows, measuring at seven inches. They are believed to be the largest ever teeth in any shark species.
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