When diving we sometimes find broken megalodon teeth, with the most common being a vertical break right down the middle. Check out some of these teeth found in the coastal rivers near Savannah, Georgia, one of them is pretty cool with a neat story.
A video done a while back by a local magazine, Richmond Hill Reflections on Bill.
You’ve seen the pics of the mastodon jawbone but wanted to make a video and discuss it a little more, as well as take a look at another kind of elephant type animal that lived in North America and right here in Georgia the gomphotherium. It really is one of the most amazing fossils I’ve come across diving.
The mastodon jaw has been featured all over our local news in Savannah, Georgia including a television segment on the news with WTOC and even a cartoon drawing of the photo of me holding the jaw in our local Savannah Morning News paper.
Local shark teeth diver Bill Eberlein experienced a first in his lifetime when he recently found a mastodon jaw embedded in the mud at the bottom of the Intracoastal Waterway near Richmond Hill recently.
“I have been diving in coastal Georgia rivers for over 15 years for prehistoric shark teeth, but this is the first time I have discovered a mastodon jaw,” Eberlein said.
“Mastodons roamed North America during the Ice Age, and it is believed that they last roamed what is now the southern U.S.A. 75,000 years ago and finally became extinct throughout the continent 10,000 years ago,” he said. “They were sturdy elephant-like animals about 9 feet high at the shoulder and weighing between 4 and 5 tons.”
Eberlein, a south Bryan County resident, is a professional diver who finds prehistoric teeth from sharks who went extinct more than 2 million years ago in the muddy waters of coastal Georgia — where there is normally zero to 3 inches of visibility. A former teacher turned entrepreneur, he got hooked on diving 25 years ago and now spends his days diving for ancient megalodon shark teeth, which can be up to 6 inches long.
“I was doing my normal dive when I felt what I thought was a fossilized log, but when I felt the molars I knew I had found something very rare,” he said, talking about his mastodon discovery. “I have found individual mastodon teeth occasionally in the past, but this is very exciting. It was really heavy to bring to the surface after I dug it out of the mud and weighs about 60 pounds.”
Eberline was diving in about 45 feet of water when he found the mastodon jaw.
After finding a few mastodon teeth and half of a mastodon jaw recently, it was kind of neat to come across this Gomphotherium tooth. They had 4 tusks! Will have to do a longer video on this guy soon.
What you need to find Megalodon Teeth..
…SCUBA Tanks with lots of air…
…Water full of Fossils (we hope)…
Buoyancy Compensation Device (BCD)
Regulator, Knife (To ward off modern hungry sharks), Gauges
Compass, even though you can’t see it.
Bright Dive Light.
Equipment ready to go
Drysuit (Cold Water)
Fins for kicking in strong current.
Tight sealed hood.
High Tech Dive Gloves from the Walmart Paint department
Mask and helmet to hold the dive light.
Back. Bright sun is blinding after 90 minutes in the dark.
Smal broken and misc fossils.
Whale verts and mandibles.
Who is this guy? He showed up after I was done and wanted to dive.
I will let him sit on the boat for a few minutes.
I did not include photos of the club member’s collections that were on display because I could not ask permission. They were something to see. If you were not at the show, you should try to attend next year. It was a great time.
2010 Tampa Fossil Fest
Once again the Tampa Fossil Fest was one of the nicest fossil shows of the year. Many of the dealer displays were similar to last year so I focused on the member collections when taking photos this year.These collections are amazing. These photos do not do them justice and to really appreciate them you need to see them in person. You just have to be there.
Michael Searle, Tamps Fossil Club President said I should feel free to post photos of the member collection displays. If anyone does not want photos of their display posted online feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will remove it asap.
By Lauren Hunsberger
Updated: July 8, 2009 10:31 a.m.
Name: Bill Eberlein
Occupation: Instructor at Savannah Tech and Premier Systems and Training, Inc. in Savannah
Hobby: Fossil hunting — specifically, megalodon teeth, fossils that experts date back two million years ago.
How did you get started diving for fossils in South Georgia? “I started diving 25 years ago in Erie, Pa., and we used to dive Lake Erie for ship wrecks. In 1999 I was hired by Gulfstream in the IT department and came down here thinking I would be diving in the ocean. Then I met a guy who was an engineer at Gulfstream who said he dove for shark teeth in the rivers. The first thing I thought was, ‘Sharks’ teeth in the rivers?’ And then I was thinking like the little tiny sharks’ teeth, but he brought one [a megalodon tooth] in and I thought, ‘I’d like to find one of those.’ Then I went out and got hooked on it.”
What exactly is a megalodon shark? “It’s a shark that was about 70 feet long and they say that the megalodon shark was probably the size of a large whale today. So think of what a large whale is like, and imagine it’s a shark.”
What did they eat? “They think they ate giant sperm whales.”
When you’re underwater in the rivers around here, where the visibility is low, how do you distinguish a fossil or tooth from a rock or piece of wood when you can’t see it? “I’ve been doing this for years and, like today, I was digging real deep into the mud, and if I just touch a root (of a tooth) I know that shape instinctively. I wear gloves a little thicker than yellow dishwashing gloves and as soon as you touch a blade with that enamel, it’s so slick compared to everything else down there … I’ve found thousands of these over the years so you just know the feel of them.”
Is it scary diving in the depths of the murky water? “There are times where you get a little apprehensive. The thing that always scared me more than anything else, it’s not the sharks or the alligators, it’s the sting rays because they’re down there, buried. So you grab hold of one and all of a sudden, it comes out fluttering up and you see their tails flipping around and even if they hit you in the arm, it’s so painful and the bacteria could get in there.”
You dive mainly in local rivers. What are some of your favorite spots for finding teeth? “You know it’s funny because the whole area is covered. If you can get down 40 feet, the whole area is covered with the fossils. So you tend to just move around a lot. There are some real nice spots near Richmond Hill. There are some spots down here in Liberty County. Just for convenience sake, I dive in both areas. So, there’s not one spot in particular. There are some near the Intercoastal and near St. Catherines, too.”
Are people amazed when you tell them you find fossils from 2 million years ago in local rivers? “Yeah, they are. And in fact, I go to this dive shop in Savannah and for the first two years, a few of the divers would laugh and they’d go, ‘Wait a minute, you dive in the rivers for shark’s teeth?’ But it’s just so much fun. But yeah, people are amazed.”
Is there a pretty large group of people who collect these? “Yeah. If you go on eBay there will be hundreds for sale. I’ve sent teeth to people all over Europe and Japan, China and Taiwan. I just sent one to Malta. I still don’t know where that country is.”
Do you have any advice for anyone who is interested in doing this as a hobby? “The diving is a little tricky. I was diving 15 years before I started doing this. I was trained in Pennsylvania with a search and recovery team with the sheriff’s department. It’s tricky because you’re doing all things you normally shouldn’t be doing. You’re diving in bad visibility, you’re diving in strong currents and you’re diving alone … so there’re a lot of hazards.
“I guess my advice for someone who really wants to do this is to get really comfortable diving to the point where you know all your gear without seeing it. There’re a lot of times when I can’t even see my air gauge to see how much air I have left.”
Among other fossils collections, you also have a large collection of pectin shells. What is the significance of the shells? “They’re 2 million years old and they’re just scallop-type shells. You don’t find them all over. There are about three spots where you can find these and they’re mixed in with the sharks’ teeth. So, when you start thinking about the layers of the Earth, they find these shells in the same layers where the sharks’ teeth are, so that’s how they date them.”
To see a collection of Bill Eberlein’s megalodon’s teeth, visit The Plunder Box in the IGA Plaza at 192 Butler Ave. Midway GA.
or go to www.megateeth.com.
December 6, 2011
by Jim Morekis
Photo by Shawn Heifert
Every week is Shark Week for fossil diver Bill Eberlein
We’re all lucky to enjoy Savannah while it’s on dry land. Throughout earth’s history, this entire region’s been underwater much longer than it’s been above it.
Bill Eberlein knows this better than most. After a successful career at Gulfstream and Savannah Tech, he decided to go full–time with his real passion: scuba diving.
Not the crystal–clear, sun–dappled diving we know from the movies, where colorful fish swim by and gold coins await in plain view. Eberlein dives in the muddy, sediment–filled rivers of the coast, seeking a different kind of buried treasure: prehistoric shark teeth.
“Scientists say that for about eight million years, these enormous sharks roamed the waters all around here,” the Richmond Hill resident and Erie, Pa., native says. “And of course, being sharks, their teeth were constantly falling out. Sharks go through many sets of teeth in their lifetimes. So for millions of years they literally swam around losing their teeth.”
The end result is shark teeth still available down there by the millions for anyone with the tenacity and bravery — or is it foolhardiness? — to find them.
“People don’t realize that diving in these rivers, there’s basically zero visibility. You have to sort of dig around with your hands,” Eberlein says. “There are strong tides and currents, and there are things that literally bump into you — sometimes large things — and you don’t always know what they are.”
Eberlein says he’s often accidentally grabbed or even kneeled on a stingray. He’s been bumped by alligators.
“It’s not like diving in Florida or the Bahamas,” he says. “It’s pretty intense.”
Eberlein finds all kinds of prehistoric remains down there, from ribs to vertebrae to remains of mammoths that walked here during one of many Ice Ages. But the booty he seeks most is prehistoric shark’s teeth — especially the hand–sized teeth of the massive Megalodon species, which dominated these waters until about two million years ago.
“Imagine a shark as big as the biggest whale today, and then imagine a bunch of sharp six–inch teeth sticking out of his mouth,” he says. “That’s Megalodon.”
Eberlein does sell the teeth, whether plain or in jewelry form, through his website www.megateeth.com. (While no doubt many people might object to him reaping this bounty of artifacts, rest assured your friendly neighborhood Corps of Engineers maintenance dredging disturbs far more fossils than Eberlein could in decades of diving.)
While he makes his living diving, Eberlein says he does it mostly for the pleasure it brings. “Diving is one of the best experiences you can have, because you get to go into this unexplored universe that covers three quarters of our planet. You never know what you’re going to find.”
And people love what he finds, especially those huge Megalodon choppers. “Kids, if they’re into science at all, really like dinosaurs and sharks. This is kind of a little of both. They’re holding real history in their hands,” he says.
“They’re probably the second person ever to touch something that’s millions of years old. Every one of these teeth I found personally in the Savannah area. They’re not made in China!”
Bill Eberlein’s discoveries are for sale at www.megateeth.com and at First Fridays on River Street. To see them on display, visit the Midway Gallery in Midway, Ga.
Collector’s Guide .
I am often asked what to look for when buying a tooth?
Since the Megalodon tooth is the most collected fossil, this guide includes information on what collectors look for when purchasing one. Collectors look for different things when shopping for teeth, including condition, size, price, restoration, shape and color.
The condition of the enamel, bourrelet, serrations, tip, and root will add or detract from the value of the tooth.
|Enamel. Smooth enamel is an Important feature of Meg teeth. The enamel on the tooth on the left is peeled, while the tooth on the right has smooth enamel|
|Root A complete and perfect root separates a nice tooth from an exceptional tooth. This tooth has nubs on each side which is a rare feature in Megalodon Teeth.|
|The bourrelet is the thin triangular band of enamel between the blade and theroot. Because the bourrelet is so thin, very few teeth have a full bourrelet|
One thing that amazes collectors is that millions of years later, these sharp and delicate serrations remain as sharp as the blade on a knife.
The size of a Megalodon tooth is measured in different ways. When people give the size of a tooth in inches, they are generally referring to the diagonal length of the tooth. Another important determination of the size of the tooth is its weight.
The diagonal length Is determined by measuring from the tip of the blade to the corner of the root. When someone tells you that they have a 5″ tooth they are saying that the diagonal length of the longer size is 5″. When purchasing a tooth, people usually would like to know the length of both sides of the tooth. This is why you usually see references to two lengths when people are selling a tooth. L1 is the length of the longer side and L2 is the length of the shorter tooth.
|The white line in the picture represents the length of the longer side (L1) while the darker gray line represents the length of the shorter side (L2).|
When purchasing a tooth be aware what the person describing the tooth used to measure it. The length of a tooth cannot be accurately determined by using a ruler. A caliper measures lengths to 1/1000 of an inch. Some dealers give an approximate measurement. This is fine until you find that your 6″ tooth is only 5.95″. This may not seem like much of a difference, but it can sometimes mean that the tooth is not as valuable. The difference in value between a 5.95″ tooth and a 6″ tooth can easily be hundreds of dollars.
Always be suspicious when someone selling a tooth tells you that a tooth is 5″ or 5-1/2″. This is a sign that they eyeballed the length with a ruler and it is probably not accurate. The tooth may measure 5.47″, but they round it to 5-1/2″ hoping to get more money than the tooth is worth.
We always measure with a caliper and show the exact measurement to 1/100 of an inch.
|Appearances Can be Deceiving.|
This tooth looks like it measures close to 5″, but at 4.72″ the actual measurement is less than 4-3/4″.
Just looking at the length of a tooth is not enough. The weight of a tooth adds to its overall effect as much as the length does. Two teeth with the same diagonal length can have very different weights. Similarly, the weight of a tooth usually increases greatly with length. An average 5″ tooth is not just an inch longer than an average 4″ tooth. It can weigh more than twice as much as the 4″ tooth. In addition, the value of similar teeth increases greatly with size.
|The picture above shows a 3″ tooth, 4″ tooth, 5″ tooth and 6-1/8″ tooth side by side. It is clear that there is more to the size difference than simply a 1″ difference in length from tooth to tooth. They weigh 2.5oz. 4oz. 7oz. and 15 oz. respectively|
For any price you can get a nicer smaller tooth or a larger tooth that is in lesser condition. Only you can decide if size or condition is more important to you.The hardest thing about selling Meg teeth is determaning the price.
Every tooth is different. Decide what you want in a tooth, look around and ask questions. It is hard to show what a tooth is really like in a few pictures. Call the seller on the phone and get their assessment of the tooth. See if it is what you really want. Don’t settle for second best.
The most common types of altered teeth are repaired teeth and polished teeth.
Damaged teeth can be repaired so that the damage is not noticeable. A broken root or peeled enamel can be added back to make the tooth look more natural. When purchasing a tooth be sure that you know if the tooth has been restored. I find the teeth that I sell and do not repair roots or enamel to teeth. There is nothing wrong with buying a repaired tooth. It is one way to get a larger tooth for less money. Since repaired teeth are worth less than similar unrepaired teeth it is important to know what you are buying.
When you buy a tooth be sure to know whether the tooth has not been repaired, restored or altered. Call the seller and ask questions. Does he know the history of the tooth? Some people are artists and can make alterations that are virtually undetectable. They will add back peeled enamel, a missing root corner or a chipped off tip. There is nothing wrong with this as long as the seller advertises these changes.
Many repaired teeth have been sold on the Internet as unrepaired because the seller did not know the history of the tooth. They bought and sold a tooth that someone altered years ago and never knew it. I find all of the teeth I sell so I can tell you more about it than most resellers can. If you would like a repaired tooth, call me and I can give you the names of dealers that I think do the best job of repairing teeth.
There are only two ways to be sure that you are getting an unaltered tooth. The first and most practical way is to get it from a trusted source. The only other way to be sure is to find it yourself.
Polishing a tooth is a way to make a damaged tooth more attractive. A tooth with blade damage can be ground and polished with a diamond polisher. Like repaired teeth, polished teeth let you purchase a larger more attractive tooth for less money. When I sell polished teeth I always clearly label a tooth as polished. Below is an example of a tooth before and after it was polished. You can clearly see how attractive the tooth is after it is polished. Again there is nothing wrong with polished or restored teeth as long as you know what you are getting.
Before and after photos of a polished tooth.
Some people prefer teeth that have a certain shape. Just like with human teeth, the shape of a shark tooth is determined by the tooth’s jaw position. A tooth in the front of the jaw differs in shape from a tooth towards the back of the jaw.
A tooth in the upper jaw differs in shape from a tooth in the lower jaw.The Megalodon had hundreds of teeth in its massive mouth.There were up to four rows each of upper and lower teeth. These rows were stacked behind one another.When a shark shed a tooth, it had plenty of other teeth to assist it in eating. Each row could contain as many as 30 teeth at one time.
Teeth in the upper jaw are wider than lower teeth.
The lower teeth tend to be narrower than upper teeth.They have a dagger-like shape and the root has a deep V shape.
The types of teeth can be divided into three categories, Anterior, Posterior and Lateral.
The teeth in the very front of the Meg’s mouth are anterior teeth.These teeth are wider and longer and have a symmetrical shape. Many people collect anterior teeth because of their shape and size. Many of the larger teeth are anterior teeth.
Teeth in the very back of the Megalodon’s mouth are called posterior teeth and are short wide.This picture shows a pair of posterior teeth, one upper and one lower.
These are a favorite of many collectors because of their unusual shape.
These teeth sit between the anterior and posterior teeth. They are thinner than anterior teeth and have a curve or hook.
The picture above shows part of a row of Megalodon teeth. A full row of teeth would not fit on this 64″ stand.
Some people ask if you can determine the age of a tooth by the color. The answer is that you cannot. The sediment in which it was buried while fossilizing, not the age of the tooth, determines the tooth’s color. As the tooth decayed, it absorbed the minerals around it which helped to determine the tooth’s color.
The enamel can come in several colors. Some collectors prefer one color over another. The teeth above have brown, gray and black enamel.
There are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing a tooth. If you have any questions call me at 912-656-2920. I would be happy to talk with you and answer any questions.
Sometimes you can’t find “perfect” teeth, they have damage or are missing tips. Fixing and polishing makes them more appealing than leaving broken. Here’s a short clip on how much you can improve teeth.
If a tooth is polished or ground it will ALWAYS be noted on that particular page of the site. Most teeth are only cleaned and kept in natural state, just the way most like them, and only occasionally do they get worked on.