How to Identify Shark Teeth Found in South Carolina

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Sharks have inhabited oceans, rivers and streams of Earth for more than 400 million years. Key to their success is a jaw full of razor-sharp teeth that are replaced continuously. One shark may shed thousands of teeth during its lifetime. Because a shark's teeth decompose slowly, fossilized teeth can be found throughout the world wherever sharks once lived. Both fossilized and recent sharks' teeth can be found along South Carolina's beaches and riverbeds. Teeth from tiger sharks, great white sharks and bull sharks are common finds.

    Examine the color of the tooth to determine if it is a fossilized tooth or recent tooth. If the tooth is bright white, it is probably a recent tooth.

    Access one of the shark's teeth identification websites listed in the Resources section.

    Scroll through the photos of teeth and compare your tooth to the photos.

    Measure your tooth's dimensions and compare them to the dimensions listed in the description or shown in the photo of the tooth that resembles your tooth.

    Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until you are confident you have identified the tooth.

    Things You'll Need

    • Ruler
    • Shark's teeth identification book, if available


    • For field use, or to confirm your identification, purchase one of the fossil identification publications listed in the Resources section.