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Stenos shark tooth fossil

Stenos shark tooth fossil


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Science Photo Library

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Stenos shark tooth fossil

Great white shark jaw with fossil shark teeth. Copperplate after Steno 1667. Steno produced a book " Head of a shark dissected" from his dissection of a great white shark caught in the Mediterranean and brought to him in Florence. In it he notes that the Glossopetrae or tongue stones of Pliny are in fact sharks teeth. This was also a conclusion alluded to a century before by Conrad Gesner (see other image in this collection). And Gesner may himself have been led to that conclusion if he read Guillaume Rondelets 1554 comparison of sharks teeth and tongue stones in his compendium of Mediterranean fishes. Steno however was the first to come up with coherent theories about how such teeth had turned to stone and how they could be found in the ground far from the sea

Science Photo Library features Science and Medical images including photos and illustrations

Media ID 6346383

© PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

17th Century Conrad Fossil Gesner Petrification Shark Great White Nicolaus Palaeontology Steno


FEATURES IN THESE COLLECTIONS

> Animals > Fishes > G > Great White Shark

> Animals > Fishes > G > Ground Shark

> Animals > Fishes > Related Images

> Animals > Fishes > S > Shark

> Animals > Fishes > W > White Shark


EDITORS COMMENTS
This print showcases a remarkable piece of history - a Stenos shark tooth fossil. The image captures the intricate details of a Great white shark jaw adorned with fossilized shark teeth, as depicted in an exquisite copperplate illustration by Paul D. Stewart. The significance of this artwork lies in its connection to the groundbreaking work of Nicolaus Steno, a 17th-century scientist and pioneer in paleontology. Steno's book, "Head of a shark dissected" was based on his dissection of a Great white shark that had been caught in the Mediterranean and brought to him in Florence. In this publication, he astutely observed that Pliny's Glossopetrae or tongue stones were actually ancient sharks' teeth. Steno's theories about petrification and the presence of these teeth far from the sea were revolutionary at the time. However, it is worth noting that Conrad Gesner may have hinted at this conclusion even earlier when he compared sharks' teeth to tongue stones in his compendium of Mediterranean fishes published in 1554. Through this stunning visual representation, we are transported back to an era where scientific discoveries were made through meticulous observation and analysis. It serves as a testament to the brilliance and curiosity displayed by early pioneers like Steno and Gesner who paved the way for our understanding of paleontology today.

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