THE SHARKS

.

Coprolites and Vertebrae

Commonality - Less common

Along with shark teeth you are bound to pick up vertebrae and coprolites (yes, shark sh_t). The vertebrate of the shark is not bone but calcified cartilage which makes fossilization a more likely event. Shark vertebrae is distinguished by its round shape and concentric circular markings on the surface.  Shark coprolites have a spiral effect to them and are usually pointed at one end.

 


 

Shark coprolite and vertebra
Monmouth County, NJ
 


 

Shark vertebra is round with concentric circles. By comparison, the
vertebra of a ray (right) has a more oval shape.
 


 

Profile of a shark vertebra.
Cartilaginous processes extended outward from the holes for muscle
attachments


 

The vertebra of the angle shark has calcified cartilage on the
lateral surfaces of the centrum.
Commonality - Rare
 


 

The spiral effect shows up nicely on this coprolite.
1 1/2 inches
Monmouth County, NJ

 


 

 

Shark coprolite will often look "flattened". This is simply the result
of the fossilization process.

 


 

At a little over an inch in diameter, this is my largest vert.
Specimens can reach 3 inches plus.
 

Return to top of page

Home Site Map Sharks