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Sharks' Teeth Are Like Our Teeth

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A team of German researchers writing in the Journal of Structural Biology have concluded that human teeth are as strong as shark teeth. Structural biology is the study of "the role of molecules embedded in genes." (Apparently) The researchers studied two species of shark, Isurus oxyrinchus and Galeocerdo cuvier, with the goal of understanding the molecular makeup of different teeth. The understanding could lead to better false teeth for humans.

The scientists were surprised to find that the shark tooth was no more resistant to cracking or breaking than a human tooth, despite a higher concentration of flouride, which provides strength. The upshot was that shark teeth are not molecularly structured to withstand more pressure or violence than those of an average hockey player, for example.


"The different biological functions of the shark teeth (“tearing” for Isurus and “cutting” for Galeocerdo) are controlled by the different geometry and not by the chemical or crystallographic composition," the scientists wrote. The shark tooth relies on its shape, not its innate strength, for its effectiveness. Also like the human's. Sci-News is following this, and has a good summary here.