Tooth, Megalodon

Name Tooth, Megalodon
Scientific Name Carcharocles
Category Fossils
Origion East coast warm water


Historic background of Megalodon:

In the ancient time when strange tongue-shaped rocks were found on mountainsides far above sea level, people used them as amulets. They called these strange rocks glossopteris (tongue-stones). As more and more of them were collected and people gained more and more knowledge of them, they were eventually recognized as shark teeth. From these remnants of the past, a more complete evolutionary tree for shark started to take form. Within this tree, one creature stood out from all others - the megalodon.


The basic shark shape has not changed greatly
in the past few tens of millions of years
.



Though opinions vary greatly on the extinction date of this largest predatory fish, they all seem to agree that megalodon existed during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, which extended from 25 million years ago up to about 6 million years ago. Like the fish of its subclass, Elasmobranchii, megalodon had a cartilaginous skeleton, which does not lend itself well to fossilization. As such, these creatures are extremely underrepresented in the fossil record when compared to the bony fish. Most of what we know about the megalodon today is based on the hard, enamel-coated teeth. Owing in part to this lack of detailed anatomical information on the creature, the genus of megalodon is still under debate. Until we have more information, it could be under the family of Carcharodon (where the Great White Shark belongs) or Otodontidae, and under the genus of Carcharodon or Carcharocles.

The educated guess for the size of the creature is as long as 50 feet and weighted is as much as 60 tons, many times bigger than our modern-day great white sharks. It possessed jaws that could open up as far as six feet wide! Considering its sheer size, scientists surmised that the creature’s main diet consisted of whales.



Of course a lot of these were based on the assumptions that megalodons were like great white sharks. Despite the mystic aura surrounded this terrifying creature, no one could deny its existence. Each year, hundreds of magalodon teeth were either found or exchanged in the market around the world. Interestingly enough, divers have found wonderful pieces in the muddy, mosquitoes and alligators infested warm fresh water. Many lakes in North Carolina, surprisingly, yield a lot of these precious fossils. Because it has intimidating appearance and when nicely preserved they are absolutely gorgeous with various color and beautifully detailed serrations, they are always prized by collectors of all kind.



Magalodon Teeth

Out of as many as 120 teeth in a megalodon’s mouth at a time, some teeth have become more of favorites than others. The price of magalodon tooth can range from a few dollars to millions. The determine points for the price of a tooth were size, weight, color, shape, condition, and of course its overall appearance to the collectors.

As for sizes, teeth have length that is under 3 inches are consider common. One can obtain a reasonable look tooth in this range for as low as a few dollars, of course a lot depends on other factors too. The ones range from 3 to 4.5 inches are consider rare; as the quality of tooth goes up, these teeth could cost over a few hundred of dollars. The ones over 5 inches to 6 inches were rarer and highly sought after. As for divers, they are trophies. Once a tooth is over 6 inches, they are considered highly unusually to be found, especially in good condition. These dentures could cost thousands. As for the legendary ones that are over 7 inches, which probably only a couple of them exist in the world, their price is beyond normal collectors.

Weight is closely associated with size; though it could be anther determine factor. The teeth in the upper jaws were thicker, broader and heavier than lower teeth in general. The heaviest teeth are usually upper anterior teeth. Color of these teeth can range from regular grey to exotic red, depending on the sediment around it. Some colors are more of favorite than others. Some colors are rarer than others. The shape of tooth is somewhat interesting. Some people like to collect the anterior tooth because they are big and symmetric; others like to collect posterior teeth because of their unique shapes.

Another biggest factor is condition of a tooth. Does a tooth have its complete root? Is bourrelet (a triangular band between blade and the root) intact? Are the serrations still visible? How smooth is the enamel? Of course, beauty is in the eyes of beholder, the true value of a tooth is totally determined by the individual collector.

Physical description:

By the size, width and weight of the tooth, I can conclude it is an upper anterior tooth – it has wide, long and symmetric shape with a diagonal length (measured from the tip of the blade to the corner of the left root) of 5.25 inches and a width of 4.375 inches. It weights roughly 11.8 oz. It has dark brown root and bourrelet and smooth cherry red enamel. There is neither missing serrations nor chips on the tip. Overall, the tooth is in pristine condition considered it had been dormant in the warm river bed for over millions of years.