We are free of charge but before you start please donate $5 to help others! Help us. Make a Difference.
Helping others is the first step in making the world a better place and improving the lives of those who aren’t as lucky as you. But it’s also shown to bring about a wealth of benefits for those who choose to help and might just be the key to happiness! We are helping all over the world.
Scientists have found an unexplained collection of fossilized shark teeth in a 2900 year old archaeological site in the City of David, one of the oldest parts of Jerusalem.
Dr. Thomas Tuetken, researcher at the University of Mainz, presented the findings at this year’s Goldschmidt Conference. The study is published as an open-access paper in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
“These fossils are not in their original setting, so they have been moved. They were probably valuable to someone; we just don’t know why, or why similar items have been found in more than one place in Israel.”
The teeth were found together with fish bones and pottery fragments in the basement of an Iron-Age house. At first the reseaerchers believed they had found a special pit used to dump trash and remains of consumed food.
“We had at first assumed that the shark teeth were remains of the food dumped nearly 3000 years ago, but when we submitted a paper for publication, one of the reviewers pointed out that the one of the teeth could only have come from a Late Cretaceous shark that had been extinct for at least 66 million years.”
Chemical analysis confirmed that indeed all 29 shark teeth recovered during the archaeological dig were fossils. Their strontium isotope composition indicates an age of about 80 million years. Similar fossils are found in outcrops of Cretaceous rocks from the Negev region. The fossils were collected there and then brought into the settlement.
MORE FOR YOU
The shark teeth which have been identified come from several species, including Squalicorax. Fossil teeth of Squalicorax, an extinct shark species that could grow up to 16 feet long, are very common in late Cretaceous sediments and still today searched after by fossil collectors.
Since the first finds, the team have found other shark teeth fossils elsewhere in Israel, at the Maresha and Miqne sites. These teeth are also likely to have been unearthed and moved from their original sites. Curiously enough, the fossils excavated in Jerusalem were found together with hundreds of discharged Iron-Age seals, implying a possible connection with the administrative or governing class at some point. Maybe collecting fossils was popular among upper classes at the time.
“Our working hypothesis is that the teeth were brought together by collectors, but we don’t have anything to confirm that. There are no wear marks which might show that they were used as tools, and no drill holes to indicate that they may have been jewelry. We know that there is a market for shark’s teeth even today, so it may be that there was an Iron Age trend for collecting such items.”