Monday, June 20, 2011

Giant jaws still for sale

The world's largest shark jaws were on the auction block of Heritage Auctions in Dallas on Sunday 6/12/11, but they remain unsold. The jaws (pictured above, with and without a human for size scale) did not reach the reserve price and are on sale for another week at $746,875.

The item is a reconstruction of the jaws of Carcharocles megalodon, the largest shark on the planet (almost 100'), which dominated the oceans for almost 20 million years. It is based on
182 extremely large fossilized teeth, measuring up to 7 5/8" along the diagonal and dating to the Miocene epoch (5.3-23 million years old). The teeth were collected in South Carolina by amateur diver Vito Bertucci (d. 2004) on dives spanning 16 years. (Because cartilage rarely fossilizes, the rest of the skeletons had largely disappeared.) The set of appropriately-sized teeth were positioned in a pair of jaws 11' across x 8¾" high that were scaled up from the jaws of a great white shark and modeled in resin.

There are plenty of photos to be found on the web of scientists and others (survivor of a great white shark attack, a woman at a fossil show in Tucson, woman in unidentified museum, scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History) posing with giant shark jaws, but as this discussion forum points out, there are 2 issues at play. One is the manipulation and perspective of the photos and the other is the authenticity in restoring the lifelike open mouth from the collapsed jaws - or in many cases, just the teeth - from the fossil record.

In this case, although the individual teeth are considered beautiful specimens, both the size of the jaw and the placement of the teeth are questioned by experts. Biologist and paleontologist Kenshu Shimada аt DePaul University says, “Thе problem here іѕ thе size. Thаt’s highly, highly over-exaggerated.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.