Searching for Shark Teeth


Took advantage of a lovely afternoon to zip down to Manasota Key near Venice, Florida. While my beach is wonderful, the sand down along this stretch of coast is famous for offering up fossilized shark teeth.

Venice is known as “The Shark Tooth Capital of the World” thanks to the erosion of the Peace River Formation. These loosely consolidated limestones and gravel beds formed 20 to 2.5 million years ago and are loaded with marine fossils. Since a single shark can produce over 25,000 teeth in its lifetime it is no surprise that there’s an abundance of these in the fossil record.

I was a woman on a mission; in all my beachcombing outings along the Pacific, Atlantic, and the Gulf I had never found a shark tooth. I was determined to end that unfortunate streak today. Spoiler alert: mission accomplished!

The beach was relatively empty but I encountered one nice lady who gladly showed me her treasures and offered some helpful tips. I have pretty good eyesight so I was prepared once I understood the key identifiers.

While some folks dig and sift, I opted to amble along the swash line looking for dark-colored objects (ranging from red to black) that were triangular-shaped and shiny.

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No Sifting Needed

After a few hours, I had a pocketful of permineralized dentitia and a some other fossils that are fragments of either whale or fish bones.

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Fossilized Shark Teeth

I didn’t stumble upon any real trophy pieces, most were badly eroded, but one still had serrated edges which is cool. What a wonderful way to spend a day!

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Fossilized Shark Tooth Showing Serrations

Categories: Nature Notes

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