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Way Downstream … (March 7-13, 2019)

How giant sharks’ teeth became ‘ultimate cutting tools’
      A new study based on sharks’ teeth found in Calvert County concludes that the teeth of megalodon, the largest shark in history, evolved over millions of years to a knife-like shape perfect for killing and eating whales and dolphins.
      The study in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology concludes that it took 12 million years for these huge sharks’ teeth — which can measure up to seven inches long — to evolve from a tooth flanked by mini-teeth to a broad, flat tooth with saw-like serrations on the edge.
      Of special interest to us was a report on the study by Natalie Van Hoose of the Florida Museum of Natural History recounting how teeth analyzed came from Calvert Cliffs, providing a record of megatooth sharks ranging from 20 to 7.6 million years ago (
    Victor Perez, the lead author, described how his fascination with sharks teeth started when he visited Calvert Marine Museum at age 6.
     Given a shark tooth at the museum, Perez became obsessed with hunting for them. “That set me off on a whole career path of studying fossils,” he told Van Hoose.
     He said that the vast majority of Calvert County teeth analyzed came from people who, like him, live to walk the beaches of Calvert County.
     “This study is almost entirely built on the contributions of amateur, avocational paleontologists,” he said. “They are a valuable part of research.”