When it comes to power tools, not all are created equal. But nature may have just cornered the market — although the necessary parts to make it are a little more difficult to obtain than steel. Sharks are famous for their teeth, rows and rows of serrated cutting tools lining the fish’s deadly jaw. People live in fear of those teeth — movies are made, beaches cleared, headlines galore about them. But how deadly are they exactly?
To discover the facts, a team of researchers: Professor Adam P. Summers from the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories and Cornell students Katherine Corn and Stacy Farina, decided to build a reciprocating power saw using a bunch of shark teeth.
In case you ever wondered, sharks don’t just bite down when they sink their teeth into prey. They also shake their heads, the sharp edges of their teeth rending flesh. So the scientists decided to recreate this action into a tool they call a “Jawzall.”
Some ideas make you think “Why the hell didn’t someone create this a long time ago?” That is the case with the shark-tooth power saw. Just like it sounds, it’s a saw made with shark teeth in place of metal blades. The idea is so simple, slightly exotic and perfect. You may wonder why these things aren’t already on the market — talk about going green!
In case you’re wondering the “Why” of this invention, these scientists didn’t just make this saw so they could be the only people in the world with a shark tooth saw, they did it so they could provide more information, via extensive research, on shark teeth. They discovered that shark teeth dull quickly and also that some shark species have better teeth than others. One researcher explained what the experimentation revealed. Katherine Corn, an undergraduate at Cornell University, told Popular Science, that much data could be extrapolated from the experiment of the shark-tooth saw blade.
“There actually is a significant effect of tooth morphology. That’s really striking. We may be able to extrapolate factors about feeding ecology from tooth morphology.”
In other words, the design, functionality, structure, and endurance of the teeth may be able to give insight such as what sharks are most likely to seek as food, including which may be more prone to eating human flesh.
What they found was that the tiger shark’s teeth are the most deadly of those tested, breaking the salmon’s spine in six cuts; the tiger shark often feasts on difficult prey, such as sea turtles and crustaceans, so deadly teeth are needed. But what they also found was that the shark teeth dull quickly, which explains why they are replenished so often and you can find shark teeth on the shores of beaches.
Don’t go looking for a jawzall at Lowe’s — but just the same, the video is fascinating. You can catch it here: