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Snack food

When this site started it focused on the fossil shark teeth of South Carolina. The area has a reputation for producing abundant meglodon teeth. And justly so! There has been a lot of research and speculation as to why. Using the modern Great White sharks as a model there's one thing for sure. There had to be a lot of food! To feed a 40 foot shark you need large prey. The obvious target of choice would be whales. Lots of meat and energy producing blubber. But another common food source were the ancient sireniens. The ancestors to today's dugongs and manatees. South Carolina has a great fossil record of sireniens from the Late Eocene to present. Their fossil ribs are a common find in the rivers. Mixed in with the shark teeth. Most of the time their remains are worn and it's rare to find traces of shark attacks. I've collected numerous articulated specimens and have found that almost all have some signs of shark feeding. Most teeth marks are from small sharks and probably represent feeding after the carcass came to rest on the ocean floor. Some have large teeth marks that could represent the original attack. Since the emphasis here is still on shark teeth I've added a few pictures of a shark attack. This partial skeleton is from the Ashley Formation. It's an Early Oligocene species. Only a few pieces of the skull remained. Too little to tell what species it was.
Location Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA

ID706
Memberpaleobum
Date Added11/2/2006

Here are some articulated vertebra. A grown meglodon would have had no problem eating a dugong whole. If a smaller shark attacked it would take a bite off and wait for the dugong to bleed to death. Sharks would then tear off the limbs and head. The bulk of the body would then sink to the bottom where smaller sharks, fish, and crabs would remove the remaining flesh. That's why most of the articulated remains found consist of vertebrates and ribs only.
Articulated ribs from the same specimen.
Shark teeth marks on the bottom of one of the ribs.
More teeth marks on a rib.
  

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