Like Us On Facebook: Main Menu

Fossil Shark Gallery - Prehistoric Shark Fossil Facts and Information - Fossil Shark Teeth from many different types of sharks.

If you like this content,
Please Share this Page:

submit to reddit Share on Tumblr

in this Gallery:
Megalodon Sharks
Great White and Giant White Sharks
Mako Sharks
Goblin Sharks
Tiger Sharks
Cow Sharks
Hammerhead Sharks
Snaggletooth Sharks
Shark Information:
General Shark Information
Shark History and Evolution
Types of Shark Fossils



Why are Shark Teeth Different Colors?

Parts of Sharks that Fossilize

Shark Evolution

Fossil Great White Shark Gallery

Shark Tooth Collecting Location:
Calvert CLiffs, MD

Megalodon Shark Gallery

Shark Gallery:
Information, Facts, and History about Prehistoric Sharks, Modern Sharks, and Fossil Shark Teeth!

Page Map:
Basic Shark Facts:
Shark Anatomy , Shark Skin
Recommended Books and Education Kits Shark History and Evolution Parts of Sharks that Fossilize Browse the Different Sharks
Learn all about each type of prehistoric and modern shark

Picture of a Scalloped Hammerhead Shark at Wolf Island, Galapagos
hammerhead shark galapagos shark hammerhead shark from Galapagos galapagos

About Sharks
What are sharks? Shark facts, characteristics, shark skin, and other shark information

What are sharks? Sharks are fish. They are classified as cartilaginous fish, or chondrichthyes. This means sharks do not have a hard skeleton, like us, instead their skeleton is made of a dense cartilage (similar to what the tip of your nose and ears are made of). The chondrichthyes class not only includes sharks, but also skates, rays, and chimaeras as they also have a cartilaginous skeleton.

Specifically, sharks, skates, and rays belong to the Elasmobranchii subclass. This subclass contains 8 extant orders, which in itself contains over 600 species. The following shark pictures show the physical characteristics of a shark.

picture of a shark showing the physical characteristics
Figure 1: This shark picture shows the main body features of a shark. This picture was taken at Wolf Island, in the Galapagos during one of my dive trips.

picture of a sharks head showing the physical characteristics
Figure 2: This shark picture shows detailed structures on the head of a shark, plus claspers, which are not present in the first picture. This picture was taken at the North Shore in Hawaii during a shark cage excursion. (note: the spiracle in this image is actually closer to the eye. I need to fix the diagram)

Note that each shark order has a slightly different anatomy. Some orders have fin spines, while others don't. Some have one dorsal fin, while other orders have two. The number of gill slits ranges from 5 to 7 depending on the order, etc...

Most of the terminology in the diagrams are self explanatory. Some shark terms that may be unfamiliar include the spiracles and the claspers. Claspers are found on male sharks. They are used to hold onto the female while mating (Hey, they don't have hands!). The spiracles are a bit more complicated. A spiracle is a hole behind the eye that leads to the mouth. When tracing the evolution, it use to be a gill in jawless fish. When jaws developed, the jaw bones isolated this gill slit from the rest, and could no longer be used. A remnant hole from this unused gill still remains in sharks. It's kind of like a tail bone on a person, we don't have a tail, but still have a little bone there.

What is Shark Skin made of? Dermal Denticles

shark skin, showing shark dermal denticles
Image showing the tiny shark dermal denticles.

If you have ever touched shark skin, you have noticed it is quite different from other fish. When rubbing in one direction, it feels silky smooth. However, when rubbing in the opposite direction, it feels like coarse sandpaper!

This is because sharks have highly modified scales, called denticles. These denticles are very different from regular fish scales. They are very streamlined (hydrodynamic), and point away from the front of the shark. This lets water easily pass over the shark, allowing it to swim more efficiently.

Shark dermal denticles are very small, less than a millimeter in size. The image shows zoomed in sections on the tail of a shark (I ate the rest for dinner), once zoomed in enough, you can start to see the denticles. They look like tiny diamonds, with small ridges on them.

shark skin, showing the side view of shark dermal denticles

shark dermal denticles - close up

Recommended Books and Education Kits
The Biology of Sharks and Rays

There are a plethora of shark books for children up to a reading level of 8th grade. It's hard to find a decent adult level shark book. This book by A. Peter Klimley is it! It's a comprehensive resource on the biological and physiological characteristics of sharks and rays. It's a wonderful resource book for any shark fanatic. Although it doesn't have all the "fluff" like the lower level books, it is well written and easy to understand.
Desert Sharks

Desert Sharks, by Mark Renz, takes you to the deserts of Peru in search of prehistoric sharks. This book is full of stunning images and interviews from paleontogists. It traces the the evolution of the Great White Shark, which evolved around 4-5 million years ago in what is now the deserts of Peru.
This Shark Set is from Two Guys Fossils. They are one of the original fossil dealers on the internet and concentrate on quality. This is the best "Shark Kit" I've seen. It not only has shark teeth, a shark model, but also a shark jaw. Usually shark kits just have a model and a single tooth! This kit also comes with a introduction to the Great White Shark, a Geologic Time Chart & Brochure "What Is A Fossil". All Shark teeth, including the larger Otodus come with identification, including location and age.
It's a great kit for educators and kids learning about sharks.

Prehistoric Sharks - Shark History and Evolution Through Time
A History of Sharks Throughout the Geologic Record

Types of Shark Fossils
types of shark fossils from fossil shark teeth , fossil cartilage, to fossil vertebrae
Types of Shark Fossils

This article is a good introduction to the types of shark fossils that may be found. There is more than just fossil shark teeth!

Browse the Fossil and Modern Shark Genera
Learn all about each type of shark
Each link has information about the prehistoric or modern shark, diagrams, terminology, sample fossils, fossil hunting locations, past fossil hunting trips, and more.

Either use the dropdown menus to select the shark genera/common name or scroll down and browse.

CARCHAROCLES - The Megatoothed Sharks (Megalodon)
fossil megalodon sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Megatoothed Shark

Order- Lamniformes; Family - Otodontidae; Genus - Carcharocles
Age: Eocene to Pliocene

This includes the megalodon sharks!
CARCHARODON - The Great White Sharks
fossil mako sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Great White Shark

Order - Lamniformes; Family - Lamnidae; Genus - Carcharodon
Age: ?Pliocene - Recent
fossil white sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

White Shark

Order - Lamniformes; Family - Lamnidae; Genus - Cosmopolitodus
Age: Eocene - Pliocene
GALEOCERDO - The Tiger Sharks
fossil tiger sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Tiger Shark

Order- Carcharhiniformes; Family - Carcharhinidae; Genus - Galeocerdo
Age: Eocene to Recent
Prehistoric Goblin Sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Goblin Shark

Order- Lamniformes; Family - Mitsukurinidae; Genus - Mitsukurina, Scapanorhynchus, Anomotodon
Age: Cretaceous to Recent
HEMIPRISTIS - The Snaggletooth Sharks
fossil snaggletooth sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Snaggletooth Shark

Order- Carcharhiniformes; Family - Hemigaleidae; Genus - Hemipristis
Age: Eocene - Recent
HEXANCHUS - The Cow Sharks
fossil cow sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Cow Shark

Order- Hexanchiformes; Family - Hexanchidae; Genus - Hexanchus
Age: Cretaceous - Recent
ISURUS - The Mako Sharks
fossil mako sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Mako Shark

Order - Lamniformes; Family - Lamnidae; Genus - Isurus
Age: Eocene - Recent
NOTORYNCHUS - The Cow Sharks
fossil cown sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Cow Shark

Order- Hexanchiformes; Family - Hexanchidae; Genus - Notorynchus
Age: Late Paleocene - Recent
PHYSOGALEUS - Tiger-like Shark
fossil tiger sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Tiger-like shark

Order- Carchariniformes; Family - Carcharinidae; Genus - Physogaleus

Age: Late Oligocene - Miocene
SPHYRNA - The Hammerhead Sharks
fossil hammerhead sharks Click on the image to go to the genus page

Hammerhead Shark

Order- Carcharhiniformes; Family - Sphyrnidae; Genus - Sphyrna

Age: Late Eeocene or Oligocene to Recent

Find us on


Back to Main Page