Saturday, 17 December 2016
big tooth, big shark
The notion that not just humans, but other animals on the planet, leave ephemera in their wake is fascinating to me. So to celebrate one of the more spectacular examples of Nature's ephemera, I photographed a fossil tooth I have of C. megalodon, the largest shark that ever lived, considered by most taxonomists to be an ancestor of today's great white shark, C. carcharias. If you want to read about Megalodon, check out this article. Why does a shark tooth count as ephemera? Because shark teeth grow in what's referred to as a "conveyer belt," each tooth that gets shed being quickly replaced by a newer, sharper one that rolls forward into place.
As for the big shark that shed this tooth, the following is a useful diagram. The red and grey sharks are the conservative and maximum estimates of Megalodon's size, the maximum being 20 meters (67 feet). (!) The violet shark is a whale shark, the largest shark extant today. The green shark is a great white, and there's a black human figure for scale.
My own Megalodon tooth is not all that large: just 4 3/4" (12.1 cm) tall. They can be as tall as 7 1/2" (19.1 cm). I purposely photographed my tooth with some shadow showing, to give you a sense of what it's like in 3-D.
Rest of the collage: Background from an old map of southern India. Ephemera include advertisements, greeting cards, fortune-telling cards, Loteria cards, pharmacy labels, ration tickets, other tickets, and cancelled postage stamps. Artistamps & their cancellations: bananas by Anna Banana, bunny-cum-airplane by the fabulous C. T. Chew.