Sharks! Sink Your Teeth In! Lecture Series

Miocene Sharks and the Origins of the Modern Shark Fauna

September 30th, 2021 (7-8 pm)
Presented by Brett Kent

During the Miocene, there was a remarkable restructuring of shark communities. Simple tooth morphologies and dentitions that had dominated shark faunas for three hundred million years were rapidly replaced by more complex and diverse dentitions that reflected an expanded range of lifestyles. The factors that triggered this diversification are still only partially understood, but the revolutionary changes that occurred during the Miocene helped establish the pattern for the shark communities we have today. 

Brett Kent is a Principal Lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has worked on the fossil sharks of Middle Atlantic states for more than thirty years, with an emphasis on the giant sharks of the Neogene. He is best known for his research on the false mako shark (Parotodus benedenii) and the giant thresher sharks (Alopias spp.). In 2018, he published a comprehensive review of the fossil cartilaginous fishes of Calvert Cliffs in the Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology.

Brett Kent

Megalodon: Apex Predator

October 21st, 2021 (7-8pm)
Presented by Stephen Godfrey

Shark bite traces are commonly found on fossil bones of whales and dolphins. This talk will showcase interesting fossils that provide evidence of predator-prey interactions, focusing on examples of predation and failed predation by megalodon. What was on the menu for the world’s largest predatory shark? How do we interpret predator-prey interactions in the fossil record? Join us as we explore these rare fossil stories!

Stephen Godfrey is the Curator of Paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum where his mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret fossils from the famous Calvert Cliffs along the Chesapeake Bay. Most of the fossils that he quarries are of extinct whales and dolphins that lived between 8 and 18 million years ago. He received his B.Sc. in biology from Bishop’s University and a Ph.D. in paleontology from McGill University. Following a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto, he moved to Drumheller, Alberta, the “Dinosaur Capital of Canada,” where he became involved in paleontological exhibit work for museums around the world (Skullptures.com).

Stephen GodfreyMegalodon Drawing by Clarence "Shoe" Schumaker, CMM

Megalodon: Evolution, Body Size, and Extinction

November 4th, 2021 (7-8pm)
Presented by Victor Perez

Perhaps the most popular of Maryland’s sharks is the extinct predator, Otodus megalodon. Megalodon was arguably the largest shark to ever live, dominating ancient seas from 20 to 3.5 million years ago. How and why did it grow so large? How are we even able to determine the size of megalodon? What made this apex predator go extinct? Come learn everything you want to know about megalodon! 

Victor Perez is the Assistant Curator of Paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum. His research focuses on understanding the evolution and ecology of fossil sharks and rays over the past 65 million years. He earned his bachelor's degree in Earth Science from The Ohio State University, with a minor in Mathematics, and his PhD in Geology from the University of Florida, with minors in Zoology and Science Education.

Victore PerezMegalodon Dentition Graphic