Shark fossil teeth give hope for species survival

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY:  Teeth have long been associated with health. But these shark fossil teeth may actually give insights to the survival of these marine creatures. Who knew fishy bad breath could be so informative?

Posted: July 15, 2014

shark bad breath teeth

Your teeth can say a lot about you. Just as the mouth is the door to the body health-wise, teeth can influence your attractiveness and even employability. After all, bad breath, which is often the result of poor oral hygiene, makes for a fishy first impression. 

But the teeth found in ancient sharks take things to a new level. The shark fossil teeth date back millions of years and may reflect their ability to survive in the conditions caused by climate change.  

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, sharks are already in peril, with one-quarter of shark species now threatened with extinction.

Many people are concerned that climate change will add to their plight. Decreasing saltiness, caused in part by melting ice and increased precipitation, could wipe them out.

But a new study published in the journal Geology suggested that despite the rising salinity of Arctic waters, the predators could cope with climate change.

The teeth that were discovered on Banks Island, the westernmost part of the Canadian Arctic archipelago, belonged to sand tiger teeth in the Eocene epoch 38 to 53 million years ago. During this time, the region had a temperate climate and its water had a lower salinity. 

The teeth provide a "deep-time analogue for what's going to happen if we don't curb carbon dioxide emissions today, and potentially what a runaway greenhouse effect looks like," lead researcher {Dr.?}Sora Kim of the University of Chicago said in a statement. 

Kim measured the mass ratio of oxygen isotopes in the shark teeth, a test that helps reflect ocean temperature and salinity. The figures showed hat sharks used to live in nearly fresh water, despite the species preferring ocean waters that are high in salt today.

There's no doubt that climate change is an urgent issue. Many wonder what will happen to certain species not equipped to handle such temperature fluctuations. However, thanks to the sharks' teeth, which serve as a time capsule of a bygone era when the predators lived in less salty ocean waters, these marine creatures should be able to fend off the worsening conditions of climate change.

Turns out this fishy bad breath may be helpful for them after all.

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