Sunday, May 20, 2007

9 years old boy finds 135 million years old shark tooth

A 9-year-old boy in Wakayama Prefecture has discovered a fossilized lamniformes shark tooth believed to be the oldest ever found in Japan, dating back as far as 135 million years, the Wakayama Prefectural Museum of Natural History said Wednesday.

The discovery was made by Yoshihisa Yamamoto, a fourth-grader at Kaseda Primary School in Katsuragicho. The shark belongs to the lamniformes family, which includes the great white shark.
According to the museum, the fossil is 3 million to 10 million years older than the previous record holder. One scientist said, "The discovery is an important glimpse into the origin and early habitat of the lamniformes."

Yamamoto unearthed the fossil during an excavation event held by the museum along the Hirogawacho coastline on March 4. Yamamoto found the fossil after using a hammer to break up about 50 rocks from the Cretaceous period (143 million B.C. to 65 million B.C.), the age of the dinosaurs.

The museum has since deduced from the shape of the tooth's roots that it was that of a lamniformes.

The fossil will be exhibited at the museum from June 1.


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