Ocean News

Whale Shark Teeth

21st September 2009

In our new episode of The Riddle Solvers, we find the following riddle in an ancient journal.

Teeth can tell you stories, they’re full of many clues,

Of how a creature lived and how its jaws are used.

Your riddle is to find a tooth, this shall be your test.

A tooth from the greatest living fish, much bigger than the rest.

The title of this blog may have given away the answer, but the biggest living fish in the ocean is the whale shark. Our movie takes us on a quest to figure out the riddle, and ultimately find a whale shark tooth. For those of you not familiar with whale sharks, they can reach lengths of over 50 feet (over 15 meters) and mostly feed on small plankton. They don’t need big teeth, and they don’t have big teeth. They have very, very tiny teeth. I just received two whale shark teeth in the mail . . . and I knew they would be small. But wow. I am absolutely blown away by how tiny they are, and how the biggest fish in the ocean has such tiny teeth. We are definitely going to need a good macro lens to film this part of the movie.

In fact, I made sure we have two whale shark teeth, because I know if we accidentally drop one in the sand while filming, we are going to have a very hard time finding it.

I propose that instead of saying "It’s like finding a needle in a haystack," people say, "It’s like finding a fossilized whale shark tooth in the sand."–  Laura Sams