Range of tooth sizes in living sharks

When most people think of sharks, many of the most iconic species often come to mind: (great) white sharks, hammerheads, blacktips, whale sharks, etc. But with over 500 species of sharks currently living today, there is a lot of unrecognized diversity in many aspects of shark biology. One of those aspects is the diversity of tooth shapes and sizes among sharks. Although when we think of shark teeth, we might first think of the large, triangular shaped, serrated edge teeth of white sharks, sharks have varied shapes and sizes of teeth depending on their size and what they eat.

3D Anatomy Studios member Michael Fath created this illustration for shark week 2021 to show the full range of tooth sizes found in living sharks at full maturity. One of the largest is that of the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) while one of the smallest is that of one of the smallest living sharks, Barrie’s lanternshark (Etmopterus brosei). Not only are the teeth of Barrie’s lanternshark much smaller than those of white sharks, they also differ in shape with many sharp points rather than a single triangular blade. A human molar is included in between to give a sense of how these teeth compare in size to our own. And silhouettes of a human diver, white shark, and Barrie’s lanternshark are included to show the variation in body size.

Illustrated by: Michael Fath, MS

Edited by: Aaron Olsen, PhD

Software used: Adobe Illustrator

License: CC BY-NC-SA 3D Anatomy Studios