Sharks have skeletons made of cartilage, which rarely preserves in the fossil record. Gordon Hubbell has perhaps the world’s largest and best-preserved collection of rare shark jaws and teeth, including the only complete fossilized skull of a Great White Shark.
So fossil sharks don’t usually preserve except for their teeth and usually the teeth are found isolated. In this particular specimen found by Dr. Hubbell in the Peruvian desert, the entire skull and jaws and the cartilage were preserved somehow — we’re not quite exactly sure — and it preserves the entire tooth row of this ancestral Great White shark. It’s like the best specimen of its kind in the entire world.
Dr. Hubbell found this particular specimen in the 1980s and about 10 years ago we decided to go back to try to relocate the locality in the middle of nowhere in the desert of southern Peru and we had “X-marked-the-spot” on a topographic map. We spent a couple of days and finally we actually found the place. We found the hole in the ground from 30 years before and it still had plaster and a few more teeth.
Curator, Vertebrate Paleontology
Florida Museum of Natural History
Ancient Great White Shark (Carcharodon hubbelli)
Lived ~5 million years ago
Gift of Gordon and Kate Hubbell
Read: New ancient shark species gives insight into origin of great white