Human beings have been using weapons since the beginning. Ever since the first caveman picked up a rock and hit something or someone, the arms race has been on. Ancient weapons have usually been made out of common items found in the area. This has allowed scientists to be able to determine a great deal about people by studying what they made they weapons out of.
At the World Museum of Natural History in Chicago, a marine conservation biologist named Joshua Drew did just that. The museum holds a collection of shark tooth weapons used by warriors in the Central Pacific Gilbert Islands. These weapons are lined with rows of shark teeth found and used by the island natives.
Although they employ great diversity in their design, there are some that resemble a three-pronged sword with the teeth jutting out and even axe-like weapons, with large teeth serving as the blade of the axe.
When biologist Joshua Drew asked to look at them, basically for fun, he actually discovered two missing shark species based on the teeth used in the weapons.
The researchers compared some 100 teeth to the examples found in the catalogs, photographs, weapons and real shark jaws. They then searched the historical and contemporary record of species found in the Gilberts. There was no mention or sample of two types of sharks that should be indigenous to the area, the Spot Tail and the Dusky Shark. When examining the weapons again, they found teeth on even older weapons, belonging to the two missing species and have determined that those two sharks no longer live in that area.
From a conservationists’ point of view, that’s a big discovery. It shows that human fishing or possibly pollution in the area may have played a large part in the two species’ disappearance from the region.
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