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Shark teeth in Blackpool could answer questions

Rachael Hobbs (23), a supervisor at Blackpool Sea Life Centre&with a handful of shark teeth.

Rachael Hobbs (23), a supervisor at Blackpool Sea Life Centre&with a handful of shark teeth.

AT the bottom of a Blackpool fish tank could lie the answers to mysteries of the deep.

Scientists have already discovered thousands of shark teeth in the bed of the ocean display at Blackpool Sea Life Centre, and believe there could be a total of more than 12,000, which could help research into the ancient species.

Oxygen atoms in the discarded teeth can reveal the temperature the sharks lived in, and a University of Birmingham research team is studying them to perfect the technique for use on fossil shark teeth.

Lead researcher Ivan Sansom, a senior lecturer in palaeobiology, said: “By examining the teeth of sharks whose water temperature has been carefully recorded, we can refine the technique to make fossil studies more reliable.”

The teeth were uncovered as the centre’s ocean display was emptied for the first time in 23 years.

The windfall includes teeth from Sand Tiger sharks, a species which hasn’t featured in the display in eight years and a large number from black-tipped reef sharks, which shed around 40 teeth every month.

The aim of the project is to better understand how cooling waters in prehistoric times drove evolutionary change.

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