Did you know sharks have several rows of teeth in each jaw, and that their teeth tend to fall out pretty easily? It’s true! Sharks are constantly losing and regenerating teeth by the thousands, and those little (and sometimes big) treasures will end up washing ashore on the beach at some point.
If you happen to find a tooth with a white crown and root, chances are it’s not that old. But if you happen to find a tooth that is darkly colored, you have found an actual fossil! Most of the shark teeth found on the Carolina coast are fossilized, and some belong to extinct species that date back millions of years. In fact, several giant Megalodon shark teeth have been found along the Grand Strand in the past several years — as well as a Mastodon tooth this past summer! That’s quite a vacation souvenir.
Here are some fun tips for finding shark teeth on the Grand Strand:
- Not sure when to begin your search? The best time to find shark teeth is when the tide is rolling in. Low tide is another good time to search.
- Not sure where to look? Stick to the shell beds along the coastline, where the water pushes ashore and then recedes, leaving behind a bounty of treasure.
- Not having much luck on the sand? Each wave has the potential of bringing in new teeth, so try your luck spotting some in shallow water.
- Not sure what to look for? When combing the beach for shark teeth, look for pieces that are triangular, very shiny, and black.
- Not sure if what you found is a shark tooth? Wet shell bits are shiny and can fit the above description. Shark teeth will also have a gum line at the base and ridges along the edge that come to a sharp point.
You’ll have to sift through lots of shell bits to find what you seek, so be patient and look carefully! You can purchase tools online to help with your search, or construct a simple fossil sifter to bring on your trip. Click here for instructions from Popular Science.
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