So Mr. Dahookey, how are you today? Good? Great, great.....Been flossing regularly? MmHmm, MmHmm....I’d really like to have you do that every day please. Now, let’s take a look. MmHmm....MmHmm....looks like we have a minor cavity here on the post anterior mandibular chomper. Let me just fill that real qu...*CHOMP* Now really, Mr. Dahookey, I’m going to have to ask you to not bite, please. I don’t want to have to sedate you.
That’s not a toof....dis is a toof!
I did something I haven’t done in years. After work, I stopped off at the store to pick up a couple of things I needed. (no, that’s not what I was talking about). And, as I was walking through the store, I saw there was a special on some product. Hot Dogs, 10 for $10. And these weren’t your high quality dogs, either. They are Bar-S, or something. I dunno. Never heard of them. Which isn’t surprising. Because I don’t buy hot dogs anymore. And if I eat them, they are the high quality butcher dogs, not them cheap Corn King, or Oscar Mayer things.
But, for some reason, I bought a pack. And some buns to go with them. And when I got home, I got out my big stock pot and put a bit of water in it and got it boiling. Then I put in the steamer basket and steamed 3 dogs. (I also steamed the buns, but only for 30 seconds or so). Then I ate them.
And now, 30 minutes later, I’m starting to remember why I quit buying hot dogs. I’m not exactly sure how to describe the texture of them. Except it wasn’t meat-like. It was closer to....I dunno....a soft cheese? The flavor wasn’t bad, per se. But it also wasn’t beef. Or pork. Or chicken. It was....something I can’t quite identify. And now I’m stuck with 5 crappy hot dogs. I’ll eat them. Those 5 dogs cost me $.63, and that’s too much money to just throw away. Maybe what I’ll do is buy a box of Kraft Mac and Cheese and cut up the dogs in it. You remember that stuff, right? It had the powder that is a shade of orange that doesn’t appear in nature?
Or, I’ll cook up some of that ramen you can get for 25 for $1. All you have to do is cut them thinly, the long way, so they look like some type of oriental mystery meat. Then you can pretend it’s Pho.
So, were you aware that today is the day I like to call Friday Rocks? It’s the day I show off my collection of rocks with dead things in them. Except today, I’m not doing that.
As you can tell by the above picture, I’m posting about teeth today. And that tooth is the pride of my toof collection. I have several nice teeth, but that one is my favorite. It’s from an extinct species of shark known as Megalodon.
Last season during Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, they had a ‘documentary’ on the Megalodon. I put the word documentary in quotes because, while they did a fairly decent job of describing the Megalodon, they also implied that they had footage of one, and that it was still roaming the seas.
The truth is, the last Megalodon died out about 2.6 million years ago. Now, that doesn’t mean they can’t still exist. The Coelacanth was thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but one was found in the 1930’s in a fish market. And live ones have since been filmed in the wild.
But the Coelacanth is a fish that lives in very deep waters where people don’t usually go. And it only get about 8 feet long.
Megalodon was a shark. While it went deep occasionally, it also ate land animals. mammoths were something Megalodon liked to snack on. It’s thought they could leap out of the water like a Killer Whale to grab something on land and then work it’s way back into the water.
So, how do we know they ate mammoths? Because mammoth bones have been found with Megalodon teeth still stuck in them. And not just one or two. many of them have been found. And not just mammoths, either. They feasted on whatever they could get their teeth on. They were a shark, remember. And they were also big.
How big? Well, imagine the shark from Jaws. Remember that shark? it’s name was Bruce. Remember how big it was? Well, Megalodon could eat bruce in one bite. The largest Great Whites get to be about 20 feet long. Megalodon grew to about 60. How big is that exactly? Well.....you know those Bite-Sized Snickers Bars? That’s us to a Megalodon. Here’s an actual Megalodon jaw shown eating an average sized Great White. (the great white is about 10 feet long).
A grown man can stand up between the upper and lower teeth of this beast.
The Megalodon my tooth came from wasn’t that big, though. Those teeth will be between 6 and 7 inches long. (not counting the root). The one I have is about 3.25 inches long without the root. That mean my Megalodon was between 25 and 35 feet long. The rule of thumb for sharks teeth is, for every one inch of tooth, the shark had about ten feet of length.
Here’s the tooth in another picture with something for scale.
As you can see, it’s a big tooth. Had they lived in the same era, this Megalodon would have been a worthy opponent for a T-Rex. A bigger one would have eaten T-Rex for breakfast. But, dinosaurs were long gone before Megalodon came onto the scene.
The thing about Megalodon is, it looked like a modern shark. It behaved like a modern shark. It was as an efficient killer as a modern shark. And it would have chowed down on you like you were a french fry.
But that Megalodon tooth isn’t the only tooth I have. I actually have several bags of shark teeth. Plus a few select others that were purchased because they are so fantastic. But those are in a display case, and are a pain to get out, so I just did a quick sort in my bags and pulled a few examples out.
There’s a variety of teeth there. I have a chart somewhere that tells me what they are. I know for sure the long thin one is from a Goblin shark. And there are two Megalodon teeth. (upper left and the one below the Goblin). The two Megalodon come from juvenile sharks, while most of the others, (including the itty-bitty ones), come from adults.
Not all the teeth I have are shark teeth, though. I have, (in my display cabinet), a Mosasaur tooth. Mosasaurs were the T-Rex of the seas. The Megalodons of the dinosaur era, if you will. They were the top sea predator for a few million years.
But I also have the teeth from a land critter. They don’t look like what you’d expect a tooth to look like. They aren’t a tooth with a root on it. These are what’s known as Shed Teeth. A shed tooth is one from an animal whose teeth never stop growing. (herbivores). If they get too long, they break off.
Wow, right? They really don’t look like much of anything, do they? But they are, in fact, the shed teeth of our friend, the Triceratops. Tritops were vegetabletarians, and back in the Cretaceous the vegetables they had to eat were mostly ferns and trees. And I don’t know about you, but when I bite into a tree, I sometimes break a tooth. And my teeth stopped growing a long time ago.
But herbivore teeth continue to crow because eating all that roughage tends to wear them down rapidly. So they keep growing so the animals don’t starve when their teeth turn into little bitty nubbins.
And that my friends, is about all I am going to tell you about teeth today. If you ever find yourself out for a swim and you happen to run into a 60 foot Megalodon, you’re pretty much hosed, so...always season yourself up before swimming. It’s the only considerate thing to do.