Researchers from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have studied a deformed tooth from the extinct giant shark Otodus megalodon (used to be Carcharodon megalodon)and compared it with similarly deformed teeth from a shark named Carcharhinus leucas, which still lives today.
The teeth all show a “double tooth pathology” where the tooth appears split. This can occur when two teeth-forming buds fuse together as they develop, or when a single tooth bud splits in two after it starts developing. These growth defects can result from disease or injury when the tooth bud is developing, or they can be a genetic defect.
Sharks have continuous tooth replacement, so there is a “conveyer belt” of new teeth constantly being made as old teeth are lost. The double tooth pathology is known to occur in living sharks when something sharp pierces the conveyor belt of developing teeth. As fossil shark teeth are usually found as separate items, rather than embedded in a jaw, it is not possible to know what caused the O. megalodon defect.
Haviv Avrahami, one of the research team commented: “Based on what we see in modern sharks, the injury was most likely caused by chomping down on a spiny fish or taking a nasty stab from a stingray barb.”
Lindsay Zanno, a palaeontologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, commented: “When we think of predator-prey encounters, we tend to reserve our sympathy for the prey, but the life of a predator, even a gigantic megatooth shark, was no cakewalk either.”
Editorial Comment: These defective teeth and the fact that megalodon sharks are now extinct are reminders that the world is going downhill, not evolving upwards.
This example of fossil pathology is also good opportunity to ask: what does this tell us about when this shark lived? Megalodon sharks supposedly went extinct in the middle of the Pliocene period, around 3.7 million years ago, before humans had evolved according to the evolutionary timetable. However, when God created the world, including the first human beings, it was all very good, and all animals (sharks included) ate plants. Therefore, sharks were not suffering disease or destruction, nor causing it by being vicious predators. That kind of corruption only came into the world after sin and judgement entered the world. By Noah’s time the world was filled with corruption and violence and some sharks could have already become predators and suffered in the process.
These days most sharks are predators but there are occasional reminders of their vegetarian past. See our item Grass Eating Shark here.
Creation Research News 1 June 2022
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