Letter | Published:

Shark's Teeth

Nature volume 20, pages 456457 | Download Citation



I WOULD draw attention to the operation of the teeth of the shark on the seizure of its prey. I recollect in Nicholson's “Zoology,” a statement to the following effect: “The sharks have teeth arranged in several rows, of which only the outermost is employed, the other rows seeming to replace the outermost when worn out.” In a recent visit to the Cocos Islands I had many opportunities of observing these animals in the use of their formidable weapons. In the act of seizure the whole jaw is protruded to a distance (varying according to the size of the fish) of several inches, the innermost teeth coming into position erect or semi-erect, but as far as I could observe nearly all the teeth came into play. When on fishing excursions in the lagoon, the sharks which constantly carried off the bait, were often caught, and in order to extract the hook, a large log, constantly carried in the boats for this purpose, was threateningly presented to its face, and of course instantly seized and held on to for as long as it took to perform the operation of extraction. If, when the fish is quite recently dead, pressure be made on the angle of the jaw, it is easy to observe the action of the rows of teeth.

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  1. Kesala, Bantam, Java, July



  1. Search for HENRY O. FORBES in:

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