If you're fascinated by prehistoric shark history and want to find your own piece of it, you're in luck. There are numerous beaches around the world where you can hunt for fossilized shark teeth. These beaches have been blessed by local geology, which has delivered the fossilized tooth remains back to the oceans they once came from .
How Shark Teeth Are Preserved
When an ancient shark lost a tooth, it fell into the seafloor sediment and was buried, which protected it from decomposition. Over thousands of years, the fossilization process preserved the tooth, allowing it to be discovered today.
The Impact of Ancient Ocean Levels
As ancient ocean levels fell dramatically, most sharks' teeth were left high and dry, locked inside the rock. However, in some fortunate geological circumstances, such as rivers cutting through ancient rock or other natural phenomena, some beaches have become the easiest and best places for shark tooth hunting.
Shark Tooth Hunting Tips
If you're interested in finding fossilized shark teeth, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, look for local information to point you in the right direction. Many beach communities have guides or resources available to help you find the best spots. Second, always keep your eyes open while walking along the shoreline. You never know what you may find. And finally, be persistent. Shark tooth hunting requires patience and familiarity with the area. The more you visit, the better your chances of finding a treasure .
Shark Tooth Hunting at Beaches in the United States
The southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States is famous for producing large quantities of shark teeth of excellent quality. These beaches are some of the best studied in the world and have become renowned for their shark tooth discoveries.
Shark Tooth Island: Located in the lower Cape Fear estuary, Shark Tooth Island beach is a great location to find shark teeth. The island was man-made in the late 1800s, and the spoil that was dug out of the estuary is estimated to be between 35 and 40 million years old. Most visitors reach the island by kayak, and there are 2 acres of sand to search through .
Topsail Beach: Topsail Beach is blessed by fossil-filled Miocene and Pliocene era outcrops offshore. Fossilized shark teeth are eventually washed ashore, particularly after a storm. The best way to find teeth here is to take a sieve and sort through the sand after the beach replenishes itself.
Wrightsville Beach: Wrightsville Beach is known for finding the giant tooth of the megalodon shark. While the best and biggest megalodon teeth are found in the offshore fossil ledges by scuba diving, smaller shark species' teeth are more readily delivered by the tides. The walk along the beach after high tide is normally worthwhile.
Folly Beach: Folly Beach is known for providing large numbers of shark teeth, including fossilized tiger and sand tiger shark teeth. Locals suggest starting at the east side of the pier and walking along the beach, checking what has been brought by the tide.
Edisto Beach State Park: Expert shark tooth hunters recommend starting your search at Edisto Beach by the rivers south inlet and checking the sand deposited by the ocean against the erosion barriers. Look for layers of shell that the tide has deposited, and you'll probably see some tell-tale triangular shapes amongst the irregular shell pieces.
Cherry Grove Beach: The area between Cherry Grove pier and Inlet Pointe Villas is highly reliable for shark teeth. While finding a megalodon tooth here is rare, plenty of tiger, sand tiger, bull, and lemon shark teeth are collected. Keep an eye out for teeth between the shell fragments at low tide.
Caspersen Beach: Caspersen Beach in Venice Beach, Florida, is one of several excellent beaches in the area. Large numbers of multi-million-year-old shark teeth are found here, and on many days, you must take a short walk along the tideline of this quiet, secluded beach.
Brohard Park: While you can find plenty of fossil teeth along the Venice beach area, some of the best ones are uncovered by wading in the waters around the fishing pier and sieving bucket loads of sand. Rent a "Venice Snow Shovel" from the Venice Fishing Pier at Brohard Park to make sifting the sand easy.
Mickler's Landing Beach: Mickler's Landing is a great place to escape the crowds and find some nice shark teeth. The beach is the first public beach in Ponte Vedra and is famous for its pink, coquina sand. Shark teeth are plentiful here, and children often find them without making any effort. Look for freshly washed-up shell fragments along the Ponte Vedra Beach shore at low tide.
While the southeastern United States is known for its shark tooth beaches, there are also other locations around the world worth exploring:
Hawaii: Kaiolohia, also known as Shipwreck Beach, north of Lanai City, is an exciting location where you can find numerous shark teeth.
Canada: Hornby Island in British Columbia is a magnificent location for finding shark teeth. It's a remote location, so you can be almost guaranteed to have the place to yourself. Manning Point and Collishaw Point are the most famous locations, where many shark teeth, including megalodon teeth, are often found .
The Netherlands: Cadzand Beach in the southwest of the Netherlands is a great place for shark tooth hunting. Many of the shark teeth found here have arrived in sand brought from other areas to reinforce the dunes. Take a spade and a sieve and start digging to uncover these fascinating fossils. Visit the visitor center at Het Zwin to identify the shark species the teeth came from .
The United Kingdom: Herne Bay in Kent is a popular location for shark tooth hunting. Beltinge Beach is known for its teeth from the extinct mackerel shark Otodus obliquus. The best time to visit is during spring tides when the low water provides a larger area to explore. Warden Point on the Isle of Sheppey and Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex are also great places to find shark teeth .
While the beaches mentioned in this article are known for their shark tooth hunting opportunities, there may be hidden gems near you waiting to be discovered. The key to successful shark tooth hunting is persistence, familiarity with the area, and a keen eye. So grab your sieve, head to the beach, and happy hunting!