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Shark Jaws Program

Chris Lowe with shark jaws

In Summer 2018, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife received a shipment of ~6,000 jaws prepared for sale in curio markets in the U.S. However, with help from the Shark Lab, Fish and Wildlife officers were able to identify numerous protected species in the shipment, which resulted in a forfeiture of the shipment by the exporters. Rather than seeing the forfeited jaws destroyed, Dr. Chris Lowe agreed to take possession of the jaws and to distribute them for education purposes.

Shark Lab students along with Dr. Gwen Goodmanlowe and Mark Harris measured and identified over 6600 jaws by species and sex. Among the 21 species identified, 4 were CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) protected. About 4,000 jaws were from one species alone, the data-deficient spot-tail shark (Carcharhinus sorrah), and 1000 were from the near-threatened black-tip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus). We also found the critically endangered scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), two endangered species, the pelagic thresher and the dusky shark (Alopias pelagicus and Carcharhinus obscurus, respectively), and other seven species in vulnerable state according to the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Jaws are made available to any educational organization or institution for use in education. In addition, the Shark Lab has developed curriculum to go with the jaws to help foster an interest in STEM fields.

If you belong to an educational organization and are interested in adding the jaws to your curriculum, please contact:

Lorena Silva Garay, M.S. – Shark Lab Science Educator

Gwen Goodmanlowe measuring and identifying shark jaws

Jaws Curriculum

Download the Jaws Curriculum for your school!