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Great White and Mako Shark Facts and Information:
Living Great White and Mako Sharks, and their Fossil Ancestors: Including Great White Shark Evolution

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Awesome video of a blond riding the fin of a Great White Shark.
Great White Shark Shortfin Mako Shark

LEFT: Great White Shark (Carcharodon Carcharias) off Guadalupe Island. Credit: Elias Levy. [C.C. by 2.0]
RIGHT: Shortfin Mako Sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus). Credit: Mark Conlin, SWFSC Large Pelagics Program. [Public Domain]





Fast Facts about the Great White and Mako Sharks


Great White Shark:

Name:Carcharodon carcharias
The genus name Carcharodon comes from the greek words meaning "Ragged Tooth"
The species name carcharias comes from greek meaning "point of shark" or "Type of Shark"
Common names include the Great White Shark, the White Shark, and in Australia, the White Pointer

Taxonomy:
Order:  Lamniformes - Family:  Lamnidae - Genus:   Carcharodon - Species:   Carcharias

Age: Miocene to Recent
In the Miocene, the Isurus (Mako) genus branches into the modern mako shark sand the White shark lineage.

Distribution: Global
Great Whites are found globally in near-shore and off-shore temperate waters. Sometimes they can be found in tropical waters, but are not found in arctic waters.
Common locations include Western U.S., Eastern U.S., South Africa, and Australia.

Body Size:
4.5 - 6.1 m (15 - 20 feet) They are the worls largest predatory fish. Adult lengths vary from 15 to 21 feet, although anything over 18 feet is rare.
Most accounts of Great Whites over 20 feet are unreliable, or cannot be confirmed.
They can weigh over 5000 lbs.

Diet:
Sea Lions, Seals, Small Whales They usually feed on marine mammals, such as Seals, Sea Lions, and Small Whales. They will also scavange off large carcasses. younger Great Whites will also eat sea turtles, and fish... Basically anything they can get their jaws on!
Humans are not a food source!

Physical Appearance:
Great Whites have a white underbelly and a grey dorsal side. They are torpedo shaped with a large, powerful tail. Their jaws contain rows of serrated teeth (like steak knives).

Conservation Status:
Population estamates for Great Whites are not known, but they appear to be rare.
Great Whites are listed as Vunerable by the IUCN. It is also a protected species in some locations.
It will probably eventually be added to the endangered species list.

Shark Attack!:
Contrary to many movies and the media, Great Whites do not consider humans as a food source. They will not actively hunt and eat humans (Just look at the video at the top of this page!).
Most shark attacks come from the Bull Shark. However, due to its size, there is a much higher fatality rate in the few Great White shark attacks each year.

Fun Facts:

Distance Travelers! Tagged Great Whites have been tracked traveling back and forth between California and Hawaii, and Australia and Africa!

Ambush!
Great Whites perfer to ambush their prey. They will often sneak up on a seal or sea-lion from below, and shoot up to the surface to attack. Sometimes they are traveling so fast, they breach, or leave the water, when grasping the prey.

Big Nose!
A Great White can smell a tiny drop of blood in 26 gallons of water (100 litres)!

Built for Speed! They are fast! Great Whites can swim in bursts up to 25 mph (40 km/hr)!



Mako Sharks

Name:Isurus oxyrynchus (Shortfin Mako) and Isurus paucus (Longfin Mako)
The genus name Isurus comes from the greek words meaning "Equal Tail"
The species name oxyrynchus comes from the greek words meaning "Sharp Nose"
The species name paucus comes from the latin word meaning "Few"

Taxonomy:
Order:   Lamniformes - Family:   Lamnidae - Genus:   Isurus - Species:   oxyrinchus (shortfin mako), paucus (longfin mako)

Age: Eocene to Recent
The Isurus genus first appears in the Late Cretaceous. By the Miocene it branches into the modern Mako sharks and the White Sharks.

Distribution: Nearly Global
The Shortfin Mako shark has a global distribution in offshore temperate and tropical waters.

The Longfin Mako shark is less common and less is known about them. However, they have a nearly global distribution in offshore tropical and semitropical waters.

Body Size:
2.5 - 4.2 m (8 - 13 feet) Shortfin Makos are slightly smaller than Longfin makos. The largest Longfin mako accurately measured had a length of 13.7 feet.

Diet: Fish
The diet of a Mako shark is almost entirely fish, smaller sharks, and sometimes squid.
They have very long and thin teeth, ideal for grasping onto fish.

Physical Appearance:
Mako sharks have a dark blue dorsal surface, and a white underbelly. They are very slim and hydrodynamic.
The Longfin mako looks very similar to the Shortfin mako but has larger fins and eyes.

Conservation Status:
The IUCN lists the Mako sharks as Vunerable.

Fun Facts:

Speed Racer
Mako sharks are the fastest of all sharks. A Shortfin mako has been reliably clocked at 31 mph (50 Km/hr), and is thought to have achieved even faster bursts of speed! For comparison, an Olympic swimmer can swim at speeds around 5 mph.

Migratory? Based on studies of tagged individuals, Shortfin makos may migrate to warmer waters in the winter.





Great White Shark Facts - The Details

Great White Shark

Great White Shark (Carcharodon Carcharias)Credit: Terry Goss [GFDL, CC-BY-SA3.0]

Great White Shark Great White Shark

Images: Great White Shark (Carcharodon Carcharias) off Guadalupe Island. Credit: Elias Levy. C.C. by 2.0


Carcharodon carcharias (Smith, 1838)



The Size of Great White Sharks
The Great White shark, Carcharodon carcharias, is a top predator today. Besides the plankton-feeding Basking and Whale sharks, Great Whites are among the largest of flesh-eating sharks (The Greenland shark is also slightly larger).

Since they are some of the largest sharks, there are lots of "fish tales" in pop culture about their sizes.

The Official Size:
According to the FAO, Great Whites range on average between 4 feet (1.3 m) and 18 feet (5.5m). As for the largest one ever caught, the Canadian Shark Research Laboratory reports the largest Great White ever accurately measured was 20 feet (6.1 m). This female shark was caught in a net in 1988 off Prince Edward Island in Canada.

Great White Shark caught by Hislop in 1985

Great White Shark caught by Hislop in 1985

Unofficial Sizes:
Reports of larger Great Whites abound, but have not been scientifically verified. Notable "fish tales" include:

The Cojimar Specimen: This Shark was caught in Cuba in 1945. It was estimated to be 6.4 meters (21 feet) in length. However, photo analysis of this shark by the ReefQuest Center for Shark Research indicate the shark was much smaller, around 16 feet in length.

The Seven Star Lake Shark: This Great White was caught in a net in Taiwan in 1997. It was estimated to be around 6.7 meters (22 feet) in length. This is not scientifically verified though.

The 1985 Australian White Pointer: This Great White was caught by Vic Hislop. The shark was reportedly measured at 6.6 meters (21.6 feet). Again, it was not scientifically verified.

So, What is the worlds largest Great White Shark?
We don't know! Measurements of the large ones are not verified. However, because of the many reports of larger sharks, it's probable that Great Whites can reach sizes over 20 feet in length. Also, based on fossil Great White teeth, it is known they can reach larger sizes. From studying fossil teeth, Michael D. Gottfried extrapolated the size of these prehistoric Great Whites using living Great Whites. He reached a size of 7 m (23 feet) for these huge Great Whites (Michael D. Gottfried, et al. 1996: figure 3).

Finally, there has been a recent video showing Deep Blue, A female Great White Shark that was tagged in 2013 off of Guadalupe Island. The researcher Mauricio Hoyos Padilla estimates her length to be over 20 feet; possibly around 22 feet.


This video shows the largest Great White captured on video. She is called Deep Blue. She is over 20 feet and pregnant in the video. The dive master is seen pushing the shark away from the cage to prevent injury to the shark. The dive master did not want the shark to get cut if it brushed against the sharp edges of the cage.




The Distribution of Great Whites
Great Whites are usually found near shore and globally in all tropical and temperate waters. In the Americas, they range from southern Alaska and Nova Scotia down to Chile. In Eurasia, they range from Russia to New Zealand, and Britain to South Africa. Famous Great White locations include California, Australia, and South Africa.

Recent studies of tagged Great Whites indicate they routinely migrate great distances. A California population travels back and forth to Hawaii, while a population of Great Whites in Australia travel to Africa!



Great White Diet
Great Whites favorite food consists of pinnipeds, such as sea lions and seals. Populations of Great Whites can often be found near sea lion and seal colonies. When younger, Great Whites will feed on a variety of food, including fish. However, when they reach adulthood, they feed almost exlusively on pinnipeds.

Recently a tracking tag on a 9 foot Great White was recovered. After looking at the data gathered by the tag, it appears the tag and the shark it was on was eaten. The researchers concluded a larger Great White (16 ft) ate the smaller (9 ft) Great White.



Mako Shark Facts - The Isurus Genus - The Details

Shortfin Mako Shark - isurus oxyrinchus

"Shortfin Mako Sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus). Credit: Mark Conlin, SWFSC Large Pelagics Program. Public Domain

Shortfin Mako Shark Shortfin Mako Shark

Left Image:"Shortfin mako shark, Isurus oxyrinchus, off Catalina Island, California, eastern Pacific Ocean." Credit: jidanchaomian via CC BY-SA 2.0.
Right Image:Shortfin Mako Shark. By Mark Conlin, SWFSC Large Pelagics Program. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons


The Isurus genus (Rafinesque, 1810)

Types of Mako Sharks

Isurus is the true Mako genus. Sometime in the Miocene, Isurus desori branched into two species of mako, I. retroflexus aka I. paucus, and I. oxyrhinchus. These two mako species survive today. The Short-fin Mako (I. oxyrinchus) is more common than the Long-fin Mako (I. paucus). Both Makos are very similar, but the Long-fin Mako has a slimmer body and larger fins.

Mako Shark Range, Diet, and Size

Makos are pelagic, they prefer the open ocean, and live in tropical and temperate waters worldwide. They are also very hydrodynamic, and are among the fastest fish. Depending on the source, they can attain speeds anywhere from 20 mph to 30 mph. According to the FMNH, the average adult size is around 10 feet (3.2 m). Because of their size and speed, Makos are a popular sport fish.


Prehistoric Mako Sharks:

The genus Isurus (Mako sharks) first appear in the Late Cretaceous. This genus continues into the Miocene, where it branches a new genus called Cosmopolitodus. The Cosmopolitodus genus (White Sharks) eventually leads into the Great White Shark, Carcharodon Carcharias. Also in the Miocene, the Isurus genus branches into the modern mako sharks, Isurus paucus and Isurus oxyrhincus.




Giant White Shark Facts - The Details - Cosmopolitodus (Glikman, 1964)
Cosmopolitodus xiphodon (Giant White Shark) fossil tooth from Aurora, NC

Composite Dentition of an Extinct Giant White Shark


Cosmopolitodus is the name given to the prehistoric Giant White Sharks. These sharks were larger than great whites, but their teeth lacked the characteristic serrations of the great white. The cosmopolitodus sharks are commonly (although incorrectly) referred to as extinct mako sharks, because their teeth look like large mako shark teeth. They have recently been reclasified to the Carcharodon genus, but Cosmopolitodus is still very common to hear.

* These Giant White Sharks ARE NOT Megalodons, megalodons were a larger and completely different shark.

Origins

The genus Cosmopolitodus first appeared in the Oligocene. It is represented by scarce fossil teeth found in Belgium. By the Miocene, there were two types of Cosmopolitodus hastalis: a broad-form shark, and a narrow-form shark. Both of these sharks became extinct by the middle of the Pliocene. However, the broad form version gave rise to the modern Great White sharks.

The species:

Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) hastalis [broad form]
aka: C. xiphodon

This is the large broad-form extinct Giant White shark. This is the largest of the Cosmopolitodus/Carcharodon lineage. It appeared in the Miocene and became extinct in the mid Pliocene. Teeth from these predators can reach sizes over 3". This top predator became extinct just as the modern Great White became more common. This is probably not a coincidence; they would have probably lived in the same environments and had the same food source, and therefore competed. The slightly smaller modern Great White with serrated teeth would have had an advantage over C. hastalis with non-serrated teeth.

Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) hastalis [narrow form]
aka: C. hastalis 'narrow-form'

This is the narrow-form extinct Giant White shark. This is another large species. The teeth of this species tend to be slightly narrower than its broad form counterpart. It was around during the same time period as the braod form shark, from the Miocene into the mid Pliocene.

These sharks have been historically classified as mako sharks. Although incorrect, the common name 'mako' is still sometimes used.

In the middle Miocene, C. hastalis [narrow form] gave rise to two new species: C. planus and C. escheri.

Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) planus
aka: Isurus planus

C. planus was a species that has hastalis looking teeth, but with upper teeth that are hooked. C. planus was a short lived species; it became extinct at the end of the Miocene. C. planus remains are also only found in Pacific sediments, such as California and Japan.

Cosmopolitodus (Isurus) escheri
aka: Isurus escheri

C. escheri was an hastalis with very weak serrations. It ranges from the late Miocene into early Pliocene, and is found only in Atlantic deposits, such as in the Netherlands and the Eastern United States. Although C. escheri had developed slight serrations, it is not a transitional fossil for the modern Great White shark. It was more closely realated to the living Mako sharks.





Recommended Books about the Great White and Mako Sharks:

The following book: Great White Shark: Myth and Reality is a great book about Great White sharks. This 144 page book is geared for a general readers and students and is full of great pictures. The author is a professional photographer who has been researching Great Whites for over 20 years.





Desert Sharks by Mark Renz, 2009

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 193 page book also contains a ton of beautiful photographs, just look at the one on the cover!





Skullduggery Eyewitness Shark Casting Kit This is a great educational and creative introduction into the world of sharks. Kids create and paint casts of a Great White, Thresher, Hammerhead shark, and the corresponding shark teeth. They learn basic shark information as well as differences between types of sharks!







The History and Evolution of The Great White Shark (Charcarodon) in a nutshell

Transitional Great White Shark

Dana Ehret, lead researcher of the study, posing
with the Carcharodon hubbelli fossil specimen.
Image Credit: Jeff Gage/Florida Museum of Natural History

Great White sharks DID NOT EVOLVE FROM MEGALODON SHARKS, they evolved from an extinct group of Mako sharks in the Pacific Ocean sometime in the late Miocene.

The origins of Great Whites (Carcharodon carcharias) were hotly debated and unclear for many years. Originally many paleontologists thought they had originated from Megalodons, the Megatoothed sharks. Others thought they originated from Mako sharks (Isurus sp.). The problem was a lack of strong evidence pointing in either direction. Fortunately, more evidence started appearing in the early 2000's and then in 2009 paleontologists were able to study (Ehert et al., 2009) a "smoking gun", an associated specimen found in Peru in 1988. This specimen clearly indicated Great Whites evolved from an extinct group of Mako sharks. Finally, in 2012, a newer study (Ehret el al., 2012) solidified any doubts about this specimen and its place in the geologic record.

We can now trace the ancestry of the Great White shark (Carcharodon carcharias) from one chrono species to the next. The lineage is as follows:

Isurus (Cosmopolitodus) praecurser: Paleocene - Eocene/Oligocene?
Isurus (Cosmopolitodus) desori: Oligocene - Miocene
Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) hastalis [broad form]: Middle Miocene - Pliocene
Carcharodon hubbelli: Late Miocene
Carcharodon carcharias: Late Miocene - Recent

Some of the evidence for Great Whites evolving from an extinct group of Mako sharks is briefly discussed below:

1. Associated Dentitions of Megalodons, Makos, and Great Whites.

The teeth dentitions of Megalodons are very different than Great Whites.

Great Whites have a third upper tooth in their dentition that is reduced in size. This allows for more bite pressure on the first two teeth. This peculiar characteristic is also seen in all mako shark dentitions. The reduction in the third upper tooth is a big evolutionary change. One would see transitional fossils of the third tooth slowly being reduced over time. When looking at megalodon dentitions, such as the associated dentition NCSM 13073 from Purdy et al., 2001, and other associated sets, we see no reduction in the third upper tooth. The third tooth is fairly large and robust. For a great white to emerge from the megalodon lineage, we would see transitional forms of this third upper tooth. No transitional forms exist. Therefore, by looking at associated dentitions, Great White dentitions closely resemble extinct Mako shark dentitions.

2. The serrations on Megalodons and Great Whites are very different.

Megalodon teeth has very small, regular, and refined serrations. Great Whites have very course, rough, and irregular serrations. The serrations are completely different
In 2006, Nyberg et al, did a morphometric analysis (a very detailed structure analysis). of various carcharocles species, Mako species, transition fossils, and Great Whites. They concluded great whites evolved from ancestral Mako sharks and not the Megatooth sharks.

3. The C hubbelli transitional fossil from Peru.

This is the Peruvian specimen found in 1988 from the Pisco formation. In 2009 Ehert et al., studied it and pointed out its similarities to C. hastalis and C. carcahrias. The only problem was the age of the fossil. It was too recent to be a transitional form. However, in 2012, Ehert et at., re-studied the specimen, concluded it was a transitional fossil, and more importantly, re-dated the sediments of the formation it came from, and pushed back the age by 2 million years.

The Failed Great Whites:
Cosmopolitodus (Isurus) escheri:
The Mako lineage produced another serrated shark, called Cosmopolitodus (Isurus) escheri. Although it superficially looks like a C. carcharias, this species is too old be in the lineage, as it arose in the mid Miocene. It also only appears in the Atlantic Ocean (Eastern North America and Europe). The species only lasted a few million years before becomming extinct. This speceis is thought to be more closely related to the living Mako sharks than the Great White sharks.

Paleocarcharodon orientalis:
This is a medium sized serrated Mako/Mackerel looking shark with side cusps. It is found worldwide and was a very short lived species. It appeared and then disappeared in the Paleocene, and is a dead end link. It is not related at all to modern Great White sharks.
If you want to see what one of these paleocharcharodon fossil shark teeth looked like, go to the Potomac River page of this website, and look at the "Sample of fossils found" section.

Carcharocles sp.:
The whole lineage of Megatoothed shark is extinct. These serrated monsters arose in the Eocene and became extinct in the Pliocene. The whole genus is not related to modern Great White sharks. These huge super predators simply became too specialized for their own good.

Transitional Great White Shark - Carcharodon hubbelli

Closeup of the jaws of Carcharodon hubbelli from the Pisco formation of Peru. C. hubbelli is a transitional fossil that has characteristics of both a Carcharodon carcharias and a Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) hastalis shark.
Image Credit: Jeff Gage/ Florida Museum of Natural History







Fossil Mako and White Shark Tooth Morphology
The following fossil shark tooth I.D. diagrams show upper and lower teeth of the following species: I. oxyrinchus, C. hastalis, C. xiphodon, and C. carcharias.

Click on a thumbnail to go to the identification, or simply scroll down.





Isurus oxyrinchus aka Isurus desori (The Mako Shark)

Isurus oxyrinchus, an extant Mako shark is thought by some to be the same as I. desori, an extinct mako shark. Therefore, I oxyrinchus may be synonymous with I desori.

These teeth are also very similar to I. paucus, the other extant Mako shark. It is currently being debated wether or not some Isurus tooth forms are of I paucus. If I paucus is to be differentiated from I oxyrinchus in the fossil specimens, the differences are very slight, and will not be discussed here.

I oxyrinchus upper teeth are have long, slender crowns. Their roots are long in the anterior section of the mouth and become more squarish as the teeth transition to laterals. Also the crowns of upper laterals tend to be broader than the upper anteriors.

Lower teeth also have long, slender crowns that have a lingual bend. The crowns however remain more peg-like as the teeth transition to laterals.

Below are two diagrams, one of an upper anterior tooth, and one of a lower anterior tooth.

Isurus oxyrinchus (mako) upper A2 shark tooth from the Pungo formation near Aurora, NC

Isurus oxyrinchus upper A2 shark tooth from the Pungo formation near Aurora, NC

Isurus oxyrinchus (mako) upper A2 shark tooth from the Pungo formation near Aurora, NC

Isurus oxyrinchus lower A3 shark tooth from the Calvert Cliffs of MD




Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) hastalis [narrow form] - (Extinct White Shark)

C. hastalis [narrow form] teeth have broader crowns than I. oxyrinchus teeth. The roots are also more compressed, or less elongated, than on I. oxyrinchus teeth.

Below are two diagrams, one of an upper anterior tooth, and one of a lower anterior tooth.

C. hastalis shark tooth from maryland

C. hastalis [narrow form] upper tooth from the calvert formation along the Potomac River.

C. hastalis shark tooth from maryland

C. hastalis [narrow form] lower tooth from the calvert formation along the Potomac River.


C hastalis narrow form composite dentition

This image below shows composite rows of upper and lower teeth for C. hastalis [narrow form]. This image shows how the teeth change depending on the position in the mouth.




Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) hastalis [broad form] - (Extinct Giant White Shark)

C. hastalis [broad form] teeth have very broad crowns. These teeth are the largest of all Extinct White sharks.

Below are two diagrams, one of an upper anterior tooth, and one of a lower anterior tooth.

Cosmopolitodus hastalis [broad form], giant white shark tooth, upper anterior position, from the Pungo formation near Aurora, NC

Giant White Shark: C. hastalis [broad form] upper anterior tooth from the Yorktown formation near Aurora, NC

Cosmopolitodus hastalis [broad form], giant white shark tooth, lower position, from the Pungo formation near Aurora, NC

Giant White Shark: C. hastalis [broad form] lower tooth from Aurora, NC


C. hastalis [broad form] composite shark tooth dentition from Aurora, NC

This image below shows composite rows of upper and lower teeth for C. hastalis [broad form]. This image shows how the teeth change depending on the position in the mouth.




Carcharodon carcharias (Great White Shark)

Carcharodon carcharias are most similar to C. hastalis [broad form] teeth. The difference, of course, is the serrations. C. carcharias have medium to coarse serrations that are irregular. Irregular means the serrations are not all a constant size as in C. megalodons. Instead, the size of each serration varies. This is shown in the diagram below. The Giant White shark also reached larger sizes than the Great White Shark.

A transitional species C. hubbelli has been found in Peru. The teeth of C. hubbelli are partly serrated.



Below are two diagrams, one of an upper anterior tooth, and one of a lower anterior tooth.

Great White shark tooth from near Aurora, NC

Broken C. carcharias tooth from Aurora, NC





Examples of Mako, Great White, and Giant White Shark Fossils



Isurus oxyrinchus aka Isurus desori
Shortfin Mako Shark

Isurus oxyrinchus teeth are very similar to the living I. desori teeth, the shortfin mako shark. Some believe this may even be the same species.



2" Shortfin Mako Shark - Isurus Oxyrynchus - North Carolina
Shortfin Mako Shark Tooth - Isurus oxyrinchus - from Aurora, NC

This is a shortfin Mako shark tooth found at the PCS mine in Aurora. It's still in a little bit of matrix.

Formation:Pungo River or Yorktown?    Age:Miocene or Pliocene ~ 18-15 or 2.5 m.y.    Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC    Size:2" (51mm)    




2" Shortfin Mako Shark - Isurus Oxyrynchus - North Carolina
Shortfin Mako Shark Tooth - Isurus oxyrinchus - from Aurora, NC

These are two other shortfin Mako sharks tooth found at the PCS mine in Aurora.

Formation:Pungo River?    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC    Size:Largest tooth is 2" (51mm)    




2" Shortfin Mako Shark - Isurus Oxyrynchus - North Carolina
Shortfin Mako Shark Tooth - Isurus oxyrinchus - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

This beauty (a lower anterior) is as big as my lee creek mako finds!
Left is the lingual view, right is the profile view.

Formation:Calvert, Plum Point member    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:Clavert Cliffs of Maryland    Size:Largest tooth is 2" (51mm)    




2" Shortfin Mako Shark - Isurus Oxyrynchus - North Carolina
Shortfin Mako Shark Tooth - Isurus oxyrinchus - from Aurora, NC

This is an upper anterior tooth

Formation:Pungo River?    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC    Size:1 9/16" (39mm)   





Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) hastalis [narrow form]
Extinct White Shark

This is the smaller non-serrated Extinct White Shark. It looks very similar to a mako shark, and use to be categorized as a mako shark. Many people, out of habit, still call these fossil teeth "mako" sharks.



2" White Shark - Carcharodon hastalis [narrow form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

This is a nice 2" upper Extinct White shark that I found in a clay block.
Click on the image to see the trip it was found on.

Formation:Calvert    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:Clavert Cliffs of Maryland    Size:2" (51mm)    




White Shark - C. hastalis [narrow form] - North Carolina
Extinct white Fossil Shark Tooth - C. hastalis - from Aurora, NC

Here are two C. hastalis [narrow form] teeth from North Carolina

Formation:Pungo River?    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC    Size:Largest one has a 1 7/8" slant (48mm)   




2" White Shark - C. hastalis [narrow form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

This is a nice 2" lower that was found in a clay block.

Click on the pic to see the trip it was found on.

Formation:Calvert    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:Clavert Cliffs of Maryland    Size:2" (51mm) slant   




2" White Shark - C. hastalis [narrow form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

Here is a nice orange colored tooth from Brownies Beach.

Click on the pic to see the trip it was found on.

Formation:Calvert, Plum Pt. member     Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y     Location:Clavert Cliffs of Maryland     Size:1 7/8" (47 mm) slant    




2" White Shark - C. hastalis [narrow form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland
Extinct white Fossil Shark Tooth in Matrix - C. hastalis - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

This is a nice robust slightly worn mako. The left is the labial view, the right is the lingual view.
We found this one while snorkeling off the cliffs.

Formation:Calvert     Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y     Location:Clavert Cliffs of Maryland     Size:1 13/16" (45mm)slant    




2" White Shark - C. hastalis [narrow form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

This is a 1 3/4" (slant height) upper lateral "mako" with a nice tiger striped pattern.

Click on the pic to see the trip it was found on.

Formation:Calvert    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:Clavert Cliffs of Maryland    Size:1 3/4" (44mm) slant    




2" White Shark - C. hastalis [narrow form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland
Extinct white Fossil Shark Tooth in Matrix - C. hastalis - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

This is an interesting yellow/orange "mako". It ahs a weird hook, similar to the I. planus teeth of the Pacific.

Formation:Calvert    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:Clavert Cliffs of Maryland    Size:1 5/8" (40mm) slant    





Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) hastalis [broad form]
Extinct Giant White Shark

This is the largest of the White Sharks, although their teeth are non-serrated, they were larger than the living Great White Shark.
They are often called C. xiphodon, but the name C. hastalis [broad form] is more valid.





Giant White Shark - Carcharodon hastalis [broad form] - North Carolina

This is a perfect large specimen!
Click on the image to see the trip it was found on, and additional images as it was found.

Formation:Yorktown     Age:Pliocene: 2.5 - 5 m.y.    Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC    Size:2 3/4" (70mm) slant    




Giant White Shark - Carcharodon hastalis [broad form] - North Carolina

This is a beauty. The enameloid shoulders are slightly chipped, but the blade is razor sharp!
Click on the image to see it when found.

Formation:Yorktown     Age:Pliocene: 2.5 - 5 m.y.    Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC    Size:2 3/8" (60mm) slant    




Giant White Shark - C. hastalis [broad form] - South Carolina

Here is a upper tooth from a diving trip in the Low Country
Click on the pic to see the trip it was found on.

Formation:?     Age:Location:Colleton County, South Carolina    Size:2 1/4" (57mm) slant    




Giant White Shark - C. hastalis [broad form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

This is an interesting yellow/orange mako. It ahs a weird hook, similar to the I. planus teeth of the Pacific.

Formation:Calvert or Choptank    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:Clavert Cliffs of Maryland    Size:2 1/16" (52mm) slant    




Giant White Shark - C. hastalis [broad form] - North Carolina

Here are two that have a slant height of slightly over 2"
Click on the image to see the trip they were found on.

Formation:Yorktown     Age:Pliocene: 2.5 - 5 m.y.    Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC    Size:2 1/16" (52mm) slant    




Giant White Shark - C. hastalis [broad form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

This is a beautiful 2" lower mako tooth

Click on the pic to see the trip it was found on.

Formation:Calvert or Choptank    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:Clavert Cliffs of Maryland    Size: 2" (51mm) slant    




Giant White Shark - C. hastalis [broad form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

Here are two Carcharodon hastalis [broad form] shark teeth found in Yorktown sediments about 10 feet from one another.

Click on the pic to see the trip they were found on.

Formation:Calvert or Choptank    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC    Size:2" (51mm) slant    




Giant White Shark - C. hastalis [broad form] - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland
Extinct Giant white Fossil Shark Tooth in Matrix - C. xiphodon - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

Here are some additional upper and lower teeth.


Formation:Pungo or Yorktown     Age:Miocene ~ 18-15, or Pliocene: 2.5 m.y.     Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC     Size:Largest is 2 5/16" slant (58mm)    





Charcarodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1758)
Great White Shark

This is the modern Great White Shark. Unlike the other white sharks, Great Whites have very course and irregular serrations.



Great White Shark - Carcharodon carcharias - North Carolina

This is a broken Great White found in a drainage ditch in South Carolina.
Click on the pic to see the trip it was found on.

Formation:Chandler Bridge Formation     Age:Pliocene ~ 2.5 m.y     Location:Berkeley County, S.C.     Size:2 1/8"(54mm) slant    


Extinct Giant white Fossil Shark Tooth in Matrix - C. xiphodon - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

Great Whites are difficult to find. They are regularly found in the James City Formation. However, the roots of Great Whites are thin and fragile. Because of this, the roots are often broken when found. This is an upper tooth.


Click on the pic to see the trip is was found on.

Formation:?James City     Age:Probably Pliocene or Pleistocene     Location:PCS Mine, Aurora, NC    Size:1.75" (44mm)    


Extinct Giant white Fossil Shark Tooth in Matrix - C. xiphodon - Calvert Cliffs of Maryland

This is a small lower Great White tooth.
Click on the pic to see the trip it was found on.

Formation:Calvert or Choptank    Age:Early - Middle Miocene ~ 18-15 m.y    Location:Green's Mill Run, NC     Size:1 3/16" (30mm)    






References:

Ehret, D. J., H. Hubbell, and B. J. MacFadden. (2009) Exceptional preservation of the white shark Carcharodon (Lamniformes, Lamnidae) from the early Pliocene of Peru. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29:1-13. BioOne

Ehret, D. J., MacFadden, B. J., Jones, D. S., Devries, T. J., Foster, D. A. and Salas-Gismondi, R. (2012). Origin of the white shark Carcharodon (Lamniformes: Lamnidae) based on recalibration of the Upper Neogene Pisco Formation of Peru. Palaeontology, 55: 1139-1153. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2012.01201.x

Gottfried, Michael D., Compagno, Leonard J. V., and Bowman, S. Curtis. (1996). Chapter 7. Size and skeletal anatomy of the Giant Megatooth shark Carcharodon megalodon. pp. 55-66. IN: Klimley, A. Peter, and Ainley, David G. (editors). In: Great White Sharks the Biology of Carcharodon carcharias Academic Press. San Diego, CA. 517 pp.

Nyberg, K.G. & Ciampaglio, C.N. & Wray, G.A.. (2006) Tracing the ancestry of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, using morphometric analyses of fossil teeth. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 26 (4): 806-814 DOI: 10.1671/0272-4634(2006)26[806:TTAOTG]2.0.CO;2

Purdy, R., Schneider, V., Appelgate, S., McLellan, J., Meyer, R. & Slaughter, R. (2001). The Neogene Sharks, Rays, and Bony Fishes from Lee Creek Mine, Aurora, North Carolina. In: Geology and Paleontology of the Lee Creek Mine, North Carolina, III. C. E. Ray & D. J. Bohaska eds. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, No 90. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. pp. 71-202.