10mn year old shark megatooth found in Dhofar

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A megatooth belonging to a Miocene fossil shark has been found along the shores of the Arabian Sea at one of the Neolithic domestic settlements in Sharbithat in Dhofar.

Attributed to a specimen of the extinct genus Otodus (Megaselachus), the tooth is the first ever discovered in the Arabian Peninsula.

Revealing details, a research paper, published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, by Vincent Charpentier from the Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives, France, described the shark as one that may have lived 10mn years ago.

Omani geologist Dr Mohammad al Kindi said that the find has been made from an archaeological site dating back to 5,500 years.

“Why did man collect these distinct fossils at the time? Was it for spiritual reasons or a sign of supremacy?” he asked.

The research stated that the shark, traditionally extensively hunted on the shores of the Arabian Sea, is well attested in the region’s Neolithic ichthyological assemblages.

‘During this period, some groups of seaborne hunters were specialised in this form of fishing, which was indeed quite dangerous. But why did an individual  5,500 years ago collect this curio, an unusual fossil? The fossils of large sharks sometimes played an important part in ancient societies. Could this also have been the case in South-Eastern Arabia?’ the study questioned.

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