04216 - Strongly Serrated 1.11 Inch Palaeocarcharodon orientalis (Pygmy white Shark) Tooth
04216 - Strongly Serrated 1.11 Inch Palaeocarcharodon orientalis (Pygmy white Shark) Tooth 04216 - Strongly Serrated 1.11 Inch Palaeocarcharodon orientalis (Pygmy white Shark) Tooth

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04216 - Strongly Serrated 1.11 Inch Palaeocarcharodon orientalis (Pygmy white Shark) Tooth

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Palaeocarcharodon orientalis, Sinzow, 1899
Upper Paleocene, Thanetian stage, (~56 Million Years)
Oued Zem, Morocco
Ouled Abdoun Basin (Phosphate beds)
28.2 mm   •    in
4 g   •    oz
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This is one of the sharks with sharpest and most serrated edges of all the assemblage in the Paleogene phosphate quarries of the Oulad Abdoun Basin (Morocco). It is a piece with a size that exceeds that of the average for its species. It is preserved in full and almost perfect. It only has a small glued fracture close to the root and to one of the lateral denticles, as indicated in one of the pictures. It does not have any restorations. The lateral serrations are really spectacular. It is still sharp, with an intact tip. Its root is also completely original, not like many which are sold online. It is difficult to find better specimens than this one. The serrate lateral cusplets are also well preserved. 

The genus Palaeocarcharodon, also known as the pygmy white shark, belongs to the Cretoxyrhinidae family. It inhabited the seas of the Paleocene between 60 and 55 million years ago. The presence of this species is rare in this Moroccan sites, and therefore it is more valued. The teeth of Palaeocarcharodon are triangular, labio-lingually compressed, with quite irregular serrations and serrate lateral cusplets. Some authors have proposed this species as the predecessor of the current white shark (Great White-Carcharodon carcharias) and the great Carcharodon megalodon. The serrations in its edges are very similar to the ones that would later acquire the Great White Shark. However, the serrations of the Paleocarcharodon are very irregular, while those of the great white are quite homogeneous.

On the other hand, more recent studies have proposed that the far origin of the great white is closer to the Cretolamna genus than to the Paleocarcharodon. It could be a case of evolutive convergence, where two species without a direct phylogenetic relationship end up having the same shape or structure. In this case, the strong lateral serrations. They similar features are acquired independently in different species because probably they had similar feeding methods.

The Ouled Abdoun Basin (or Khouribga Basin), located in the central sector of Morocco, is an enormous sedimentarian basin represented mostly by a vast filling of phosphate sediments. Apart from having a relevant raw material to be extracted, it has a series of very important paleontological sites in which amazing assemblages from big and small marine vertebrates are present. The basin has a so great continuity in its stratigraphic record that both the Upper Cretaceous as well as the two first epochs of the Paleogene (Paleocene and Eocene) can be studied.

The main assemblage of vertebrate fossils of the Paleogene sector present there is composed by sharks, fish, turtles, marine snakes, rays, crocodiles, other types of reptiles and even marine birds. In the Cretaceous part we can add Mosasaurs, Pterosaurs and Plesiosaurs. Next you can visit a link with very interesting information about this sedimentarian basin rich in fossil vertebrates: Ouled Abdoun Basin

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