Fossilised Shark Tooth

Shark teeth are the most common type of fossil. Like most teeth, shark teeth are made of dentin, a hard calcified tissue that does not easily decompose. Dentin is harder and denser than bone. In a tooth, the dentin is surrounded by a very hard enamel shell.

Shark teeth are designed to regularly fall out and be replaced. A shark can go through tens of thousands of teeth in a lifetime.

Carcharodon carcharias – Great white shark (Linnaeus, 1758)

Additional information submitted July 2022

Fossil shark tooth identified as Carcharodon carcharias /great white shark.

A report in the Wairarapa Daily Times, volume IX, issue 2867, 7 April 1888, page 2 reads:

“Mr Murdoch McKenzie has presented to the Masterton Museum a shark’s tooth. It was found near Opaki Bridge, and was excavated from a blue rock cutting at a depth of about fifteen feet. The tooth, and portion of a shark’s rib-bone found with it, were in a partially petrified condition, and the latter was highly impregnated with iron. They must have been there for ages, although still well preserved.”

The Opaki-Kaiparoro Road crosses the Ruamahanga River, and it is more than likely this is the bridge referred to in the 1888 article.

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Shark tooth in centre
Centre- Carcharodon carcharias – Great white shark (Linnaeus, 1758)