Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Here There Be Monsters


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I suppose some if not all of these fossil shark teeth could qualify as Megalodon, but only juveniles. A full size meg tooth is something to see at about 7 inches long. I don't have one of those (dang it!), but if you placed one in my hand (I'd run away with it! )...it would cover all the teeth in the above picture.

Meg could have cruised anywhere in Florida as the peninsula was a shallow sea bottom for much of prehistory. Being blessed with the sharky advantage of endless teeth, she would have lost and replaced teeth repeatedly in her life...just like her smaller descendents do today.

For that reason, fossil shark teeth are not that difficult to find in Florida. In south Florida, there are large limerock mines that bring up loads of marine fossils in each scoop of a crane's bucket. As a kid, my buddy Harry slid down a mound of coquina in a borrow pit, put his hand down to stop his slide, and came up with a meg tooth between his fingers.

If you were looking for fossil shark's teeth and wanted a sure thing, I would send you to Venice Beach in southwest Florida. Venice is in a unique position with an offshore fossil deposit and onshore currents that constantly redeposit new "old" teeth. They even have a shark tooth festival.

My second choice would be Vilano beach near my old hometown of St. Augustine. You have to look harder at Vilano, but it can be pretty productive. Also, there's teeth in many of the creeks and rivers that cut through our Florida limestone on their way to the sea.

The teeth in the picture have come to me in various ways, but I can't claim to have found any this big. Most of mine are of smaller, nonMeg species, but still exciting to find...

...and you never know what that next handfull of sand will reveal.


roger said...

i never got there to see, but there is a place ten miles from the ocean, inland from santa cruz, where people find loads of shark teeth.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I'll have to write the name of these beaches down so when I visit I can look for shark teeth. I've never found any, but then I've never looked for any either.

Thanks for the tip and the picture.

threecollie said...

I was so thrilled to see this post. The only time I ever got to visit Florida (back when I was in college), we happened upon Venice Beach by accident. We also happened upon the fossil shark teeth by accident, discovering them while hunting for shells. A friendly bystander told us what these things we were finding were and we were off. Spent the entire day standing in the surf, sieving handfulls of bottom for teeth. Oh what delightful treasure hunting! I will date myself by saying that the paperback book for Jaws had just come out and whenever I had to get my fairskinned northern self out of the sun I read that in the shade. Thanks SO much for bringing back those lovely memories!

Likes2mtnbike said...

Love Venice Beach but has gotten SO commercial. And tooth-hunters from hither and yon (hither and yon??) have gotten 'way too greedy, walking around with bucketloads of toofers. The commercial combers are ruining it for the rest of us!

Floridacracker said...

Sneak it in on this little trip you're on...

Warning...it's addictive.

Hard to stop once you find that first one isn't it? JAWS probably kept a bunch of people out of the water looking for teeth on the beach that year.

Doesn't that seem to happen over and over. Some pleasant activity gets overtaken by folks out for a buck. We hit Englewood and found a bunch there too. By a bunch I mean only a coffee cup full, but treasure to us.

pablo said...

With an endless supply of teeth, I guess the whole flossing argument is moot, eh?

(I've tried three times to leave this comment. I think Blogger hates me again.)

Laura said...

Very cool... I've never found any fossils, although we did get to go on an amazing Indian artifacts field trip several years ago.

off the subject, I had an actual traffic jam today on my street today. A flock of Ibis was crossing the street and I had to stop and let them cross! that has never happened before, and we were able to get pictures of it. I'll put them up on the site later today or tomorrow. Would you drop me a line if the site is still loading slowly. Thanks!

Mrs. S said...

I've never seen any shark teeth in real life! Just pictures... Aligator teeth, though... do they count?

And, just for the record, I much prefer the picture of shark teeth in your palm to the picture of green squirmy gross things in your palm from yesterday.

Floridacracker said...

Our sharks get that flossing effect from surfboards. As for blogger, I just gave it a stern talking to...

Been there, done that just a few minutes ago.
Looking forward to the ibis jam pictures.
Ibis Jam? ...sounds like a condiment.

Floridacracker said...

Mrs. S,
Sure, alligator teeth count! I have a huge one behind me in the nicknack case.
Honestly, the teeth are much nicer to hold than squirmey green 'pillars.

kevin said...

A guy I work with has a couple of Megaladon teeth he found near the mouth of the St. Johns river. They really are as big as my hand. He let me borrow one for a shark tooth project my son did. The difference the size of that tooth and a Great White was amazing.

By the way FC, I'm in Ft. Sill, the first step to Kuwait. No sea breeze here.

Floridacracker said...

I remember a dredge project in Jax that brought up beaucoup sharks teeth several years ago.

Cheer up, Kuwait has to be more exciting than Oklahoma. At least there's a sea breeze...and combat pay.
Jeez..be careful amigo.

Hick said...

Land sharks? That reminds me of Saturday Night Live. Heh~

thingfish23 said...

...or sifting through the murk in any spring along the Wekiva river. That's where my buddies and I used to go, via kayak and canoe.

The good old days.