Did you know today is Shark Awareness Day?
These impressive teeth, which come from the enormous extinct shark Carcharodon megalodon, hang ominously in our Vertebrate Origins Hall. This animal, which lived in the seas 10 million years ago, easily dwarfed modern Great white sharks. Current estimates put this species at a maximum total length of about 52 feet (15.9 metres) and an approximate mass of 48 tons (tonnes). By comparison, the largest known White Shark was about 23.5 feet (7.1 metres) long and had a mass of roughly 2.3 tons (tonnes). Fossilized Carcharodon teeth are found all around the world, but some of the best preserved are from North Carolina, like these exhibited at the Museum. For an astounding 400 million years, sharks have roamed the oceans in search of prey. Along the way they took on a wide variety of forms, from the intimidatingly tremendous—as in the case of the Carcharodon megalodon—to the Pale Catshark, a modern shark you could easily hold in your hand.