Eric Anthony Rodriguez

Eric Anthony Rodriguez

I enjoy finding fossilized shark teeth. I sometimes find them in the Suwannee River. People are frequently surprised to learn that all of Suwannee County was once under water. There are many places people go to find shark’s teeth. Venice, Florida, has even proclaimed itself the Shark Tooth Capital of the World. I recently spent a few days in a place that may give Venice a run for its money.

I have been to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a few times before, but I never spent much time looking for shark teeth on the beach there. After the finds I made last week, I wish I had spent more time searching this beach before. There were so many teeth washing up on the sand at Myrtle Beach that you could see many people picking them up and placing them in bags or water bottles. It did not take me long to get the hang of it, and I was finding many teeth every time I went looking for them.

The secret at Myrtle Beach is to wait for high tide and search as the tide is falling. There were several spots where you could wait for each small wave to bring in new fossils to be collected. Some waves would bring in multiple teeth. I did not see anyone finding large teeth, but several were right around an inch long and were intact. Some people were using a fine-meshed scoop so they did not even have to bend over to collect their teeth.

I have been scuba diving just off shore from Venice Beach, Florida, and have made some nice finds there. The teeth found before being washed onto shore are generally larger and in better shape than those found on the beach. It makes me wonder if scuba diving off of Myrtle Beach would produce larger and more numerous teeth than those found off the west coast of Florida.

After my impressive finds in South Carolina, I decided to research other areas that are known to have many shark teeth wash ashore. One of the top articles I found in my search on the topic did not even include South Carolina in the top 6 sites. I guess I need to plan a trip to Maryland, Washington, Hawaii and Texas one day. This article also mentioned the Gulf Islands Seashore in extreme West Florida and Cumberland Island, Georgia, as other prime areas for tooth hunting.

As we celebrate our nation’s independence this week, it is a reminder that the ability to travel to areas to find fossils and not to have to worry about the basic necessities of life is truly a blessing. There are many parts of the world where the idea of spending money and time traveling to find rocks that cannot be eaten would be considered too trivial a pursuit to partake in. When I am focused on finding shark teeth it keeps my mind from wandering too much into topics like the extreme heat wave in Europe or the quickly escalating situation in Iran. I am thankful to live in a place and have the means to be able to participate in this hobby.

Eric lives in Suwannee County and is a public school educator. He is an independent contractor. You can reach him at miamistyle8@gmail.com.

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