Sunday, March 30, 2008

Michigan Teen Finds River Tooth

16-year old David Wentz was snorkeling in Michigan's St. Clair River last August when he spied an unusual rock on the bed.

While he wasn't sure what he had discovered, thanks to the Discovery Channel, his father was: a fossilized shark tooth! Researchers say the tooth is most likely that of a Carcharodon megalodon, a species now extinct for some 2 million years. Most likely, the tooth was brought in and dropped by human settlers, as the shark was obviously not indigenous to the region. However, while sharks are accepted as saltwater fish, there have been reports of sightings in freshwaters. In fact, there was a series of freshwater shark attacks in the early 20th-Century that, while believed to be related (at least two sharks somehow made their way into a river from the sea), prove that sharks can survive in freshwater for some time. The Carcharodon megalodon was most likely a saltwater-based species, but whether or not it could survive (and thus may have hunted) in freshwater is unknown.

But obviously, as researchers are quick to point-out, there are no sharks with 3" teeth in the St. Clair River today... or is that hopefully?

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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