A "Quick & Dirty" Guide to Fossil

and Recent Shark Teeth

Identifying isolated fossil and modern shark teeth is not easy.  The task is frustrated by the fact that tooth shape often changes with such factors as whether a specimen is from the upper or lower jaw, its position in the jaw, the age and sex of the shark from which it came.  Following is a rough, illustrated guide to some of the more commonly collected fossil and recent shark teeth.  When possible, multiple specimens are shown to give a sense of the variation of tooth shape within each species.  The characters used here for identification are rather subjective and idiosyncratic, but they are ones that I have found to be reasonably reliable in most cases. For your convenience, this guide is divided into separate sections for fossil and recent teeth. I hope that you find this brief guide interesting and useful.

Fossil Teeth

Recent Teeth


ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research
Text and illustrations R. Aidan Martin
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