Monday, July 6, 2015

This Fossil Shark Is Safe


It is Discovery Channel's Shark Week once again and sharks will get a lot of good and bad attention. The Shark Research Institute in Princeton is offering a safe way to engage with sharks that will not be threatening at all. Hunt for fossilized shark teeth.

Kids and adults can join experts from the Shark Research Institute and the American Littoral Society this Saturday, July 11, and wade into the Big Brook in Middletown to sift for ancient shark teeth.

Sharks continually shed their teeth; some Carcharhiniformes shed approximately 35,000 teeth in a lifetime, as well as replace them by producing thousands of more. There are four basic types of shark teeth: dense flattened, needle-like, pointed lower with triangular upper, and non-functional. The type of tooth that a shark has depends on its diet and feeding habits.

In some geological formations, shark's teeth are a common fossil and  they are often the only part of the shark to be fossilized. The most ancient types of sharks date back to 450 million years ago, during the Late Ordovician period, and are mostly known by their fossilized teeth. However, the most commonly found fossil shark teeth are from the Cenozoic era (the last 66 million years).

The shallow water (about 18 inches deep) of the Big Brook sediments were deposited during the Late Cretaceous 100 to 66 million years ago when modern sharks began to appear on Earth.

9:30 a.m. to noon, July 11. $5 for adults, kids are free. Call 609-921-3522 to sign up.
Future shark teeth hunts at Big Brook are 5:30 p.m., July 30 and 9:30 a.m. to noon, August 15.

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