Prehistoric shark tooth thriller researched in North Carolina

An historical shark tooth had an odd form — and unraveling the thriller may present perception into the long-extinct predators.

The deformed tooth got here from a megalodon, a large shark that roamed the ocean tens of millions of years in the past.

Researchers in North Carolina determined to take a more in-depth take a look at the dental abnormality — known as a double tooth pathology — to find out if the shark’s mouth had been injured. Another consideration was that the animal developed the misshapen tooth by itself.

“We don’t have a lot of data on double tooth pathologies in ancient shark species,” Harrison Miller, a researcher and former N.C. State University scholar, stated May 12 in a information launch. “So this was an opportunity to fill in those gaps — and perhaps learn more about the sharks in the process.”

To be taught extra, researchers studied the megalodon tooth in addition to two smaller bull shark enamel that had the unusual form, described as enamel showing to be break up. Then, these enamel had been in comparison with normal-shaped samples, in accordance with outcomes printed within the journal PeerJ.

In the research, researchers speculate the megalodon injured its tooth whereas consuming. That stands out as a result of the animals had been thought to have had a eating regimen that consisted of a extra restricted vary of prey, principally whales.

“We know that tooth deformities in modern sharks can be caused by something sharp piercing the conveyor belt of developing teeth inside the mouth,” Haviv Avrahami, a researcher and doctoral scholar at N.C. State, stated within the information launch. “Based on what we see in modern sharks, the injury was most likely caused by chomping down on a spiny fish or taking a nasty stab from a stingray barb.”

Scientists say they suppose the feeding mishap — extra so than the shark’s personal growth — was possible the reason for the misshapen tooth as a consequence of info out there via the fossil report.

Megalodons lived within the ocean earlier than they went extinct about 3.6 million years in the past. Their jaws had a power that might attain 40,000 kilos, and every of their enamel was “as large as an adult human’s hand,” in accordance with the Smithsonian Institution.

“The largest (megalodon sharks) were roughly 60 feet in length and attained perhaps up to 50 tons, the size and weight of a railroad car,” the Smithsonian wrote on its web site.

Now, researchers say it’s attainable that a type of big creatures ran right into a stretch of dangerous luck, changing into injured itself.

“When we think of predator-prey encounters, we tend to reserve our sympathy for the prey, but the life of a predator, even a gigantic megatooth shark, was no cakewalk either,” Lindsay Zanno, a researcher who works with N.C. State and the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, stated within the information launch.

Simone Jasper is a reporter masking breaking tales for The News & Observer and real-time information within the Carolinas.

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