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Fossil-Treasures-of-Florida-Newsletter, Issue #0013 -- How to Measure a Shark Tooth Fossil
June 25, 2012

Fossil Newsletter, Issue #0013 - How to Measure a Shark Tooth Fossil

June 25, 2012

In this Issue:

* How to Measure a Shark Tooth Fossil
* How Big was that Fossil Shark?
* What's New at

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How to Measure a Shark Tooth Fossil

If you are finding or buying fossil shark teeth, or both; you should become familiar with how they are measured. When it comes to sharks teeth, size does matter. It can tell you how big the shark was when it was alive, and how much you may want to buy or sell a tooth for.

In general, a sharks tooth is measured on the slant length (diagonal length) of the edge of the tooth. You measure from the blade tip of the tooth, to the bottom tip of the root. You will have 2 slant length sizes: L1 (length #1) which is the longer of the two lengths and L2 (length #2) which is the shorter of the two lengths. So, if someone tells you they have found a 5 ½ inch Megalodon Tooth, they are referring to its L1 slant length. The word “slant length” often gets abbreviated to just “length”.

Beware, that if the root tip has been repaired and extended in length beyond natural boundaries, you could suddenly create an unnatural record size tooth.

To measure the width of the tooth, you measure the widest part of the tooth. This is almost always were the blade and the root of the tooth meet. The measurement is usually given in inches and /or both inches and centimeters.

Rulers and tape measures are often used to measure these lengths, but digital calipers are more accurate and preferred, in my opinion.

The most complete information on measuring a fossil shark tooth would be to give both the L1 and L2 slant lengths, width of the tooth, and weight.

How Big was that Fossil Shark?

Did you know that you could estimate the size of a shark by its teeth?

Using the mathematical formula (1 inch = 8.34 feet) that is based on the measurements of a Megalodon Shark’s second upper anterior tooth (AII); you can get an estimate of the shark’s total length by measuring the slant length of a sharks tooth in inches and multiplying that figure by 8.34 feet. This will give you a ballpark estimate of the shark’s actual size when it was alive.

So a 5.5 inch Megalodon Tooth would have belonged to a shark that would have been about 46 feet in length when it was alive. And a 7.2 inch Megalodon Tooth (right at the world record), would have belonged to a shark 60 feet in length – that is as big as or bigger than a greyhound bus.

What's New at

*Fossils for Sale 1
*Fossils for Sale 2
*Fossils for Sale 3
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