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Haaientand op het strand bij Cadzand door Joost van Uffelen

Dutch shark teeth

Have you ever found fossilized shark teeth?

What about finding them in the Netherlands?

As from last year I am exploring the Dutch coastline and waters some more.

Earlier this year we visited the dunes with Scottish Highland cattle, I caught a shark in last years SharkaTag event and I dove more frequently in the Dutch sea and estuaries (more about the latter coming soon..).

But something we had attempted also (without success) was to find shark teeth. On a few locations in the Netherlands these teeth are found on our shorelines.

"Het Zwin" in Cadzand is such a place. It is located in the far South West of the Netherlands and is one of the most productive places in the country for finding them.

The area is an estuary where fresh water finds its way to the NorthSea.

You have to understand that sharks lose teeth all the time. They get stuck in prey or fall out of their mouth after they have loosened up.

To counter going toothless they have an amazing conveyor belt system to replace these teeth. They lose thousands of teeth in their lifetime, but they can replace one within a day!

Due to tidal changes these fossilized teeth are exposed from the sediment in which they have been buried for thousands of years. 

Recently we set out to search for them at lowtide while on our way home from a visit to the picturesque surroundings of Bruges in Belgium.

The weather was beautiful so lots of the present beachgoers must have thought that we were crazy. While staring at our feet we tried to make out anything that looked like a shark tooth.

In the meantime a giant pink inflatable flamingo was inflated and brought to sea for a cool dip..

Lots of things started to look like a tooth and continuing the search after many disappointments took patience.. It took a lot of patience as well as a trained eye.

Some of us got so desperate that they went into snail mode..

We kept our eyes peeled for any sign of a shark tooth although the beachbar was not far. That fresh cold beer on our mind did not make things easier..

We were already an hour into the search after all..

But after noticing lots of freshly released shells on the wet sand I expressed to Sandy: "If this is not the place where we are to find them, then we are not going to find them at all..!"

Minutes later we found our first sharktooth.. It was black, small and not completely in tact, but unmistakenly the stuff we were looking for!

It was not long before another (broken) piece was found. Finally we also discovered one that was completely in tact.

The species of this shark was most probably some sort of sand or sandtiger shark.

And what do you do with real shark teeth? Of course; you make a necklace out of them.

In comparison below is another shark tooth necklace from Sandy's current (and expanding) collection. The white tooth is a not yet fossilized sandtiger shark tooth from South Africa (Protea Banks area).

Cool huh!? We might be off searching for more sharkteeth real soon..

By the way, that cold beer, it tasted really, really good..

More facts on Shark teeth you can find here.

joostvanuffelen's picture
About the Author:
Joost loves the oceans, travelling and (underwater)photography. Combining those three elements he creates ocean art, travel reports and ocean photo stories...

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