Australian teacher finds prehistoric shark teeth

Australian teacher finds prehistoric shark teeth

Australian teacher finds prehistoric shark teeth

A teacher and fossil enthusiast found a giant set of prehistoric shark teeth estimated to be about 25 million years old at a beach in Australia.

Philip Mullaly found the set of shark teeth in Jan Juc, a renowned fossil site along Victoria's Surf Coast.

Australian paleontologists have made a remarkable fossil discovery in the state of Victoria, just 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the capital, reports CNET. "I was immediately excited, it was just ideal, and I knew it was an important find that needed to be shared with people", explained Phillip Mullaly. So he showed them to paleontologist Erich Fitzgerald, who went back with Mullaly and a team of experts to find over 40 more teeth and some vertebrae of the awesome Carcharocles angustidens.

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"These teeth are of global significance, as they represent one of just three associated groupings of Carcharocles angustidens teeth in the world and the very first set to ever be discovered in Australia", Dr. Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at Museums Victoria, said in a statement.

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. Although the team found evidence that there was only one megashark there, they found indications that there were several different sixgill sharks on the scene.

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. At the same time, ancient teeth are seldom preserved, because the cartilage in their make-up doesn't fossilize easily.

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Most came from the mega-shark, but several smaller teeth were also found from the sixgill shark (Hexanchus), which still exists today. However, Fitzgerald said that finding multiple teeth from a single shark is extremely rare.

So with a team of paleontologists, Fitzgerald and Mullaly returned to the beach past year, which was south of Melbourne.

Inches teeth belong to the extinct predator known as Osasuna big toothed shark. This means that the sixgill shark's behavior has not changed much for tens of millions of years.

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