320-million-year-old shark tooth fossil found in Clare

320-million-year-old shark tooth fossil found in Clare


The 320-million-year-old shark tooth fossil discovered on the coastline at Doolin

A 320-million-year-old shark tooth fossil has been discovered on the Co Clare coastline and will be put on public display next week.

The very rare and significant find was made Dr. Eamon Doyle a geologist with the Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark.

Dr Doyle discovered the tooth which belonged to a shark that once hunted during the Carboniferous period in the waters off Ireland at a time when the country was located close to the equator.

Dr Eamon Doyle said: “Fossil sharks teeth of this age are very rare in Ireland and so it extends the known range of fossil sharks in Ireland. Equally significant is the information it gives us about the biodiversity of these ancient seas.”

“This shark tooth tells us that apex predators of up to 70cm were living here at the time. It is possible they were feeding on creatures known as nautiloids which are spiral-shelled creatures which grew to about 10cm where the tooth was found. These nautiloids were also predators and prior to this find would have been regarded as the apex predator. It is hoped that further finds will add more information,” he added.

Dr Eamon Doyle shows the fossil Carol Gleeson, Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and Colaiste Muire Ennis Transition Year students Tia Hughes, Leah O’Neill and Ciara Lane –  Photo: Arhtur Ellis.

The fossil will be placed on public display on Thursday 25th May at an event, entitled There’s Life in the Old Rocks of Clare, in Ennistymon Public Library.

The event will mark the start of the annual Burren Rocks programme which will feature a range of fun and educational events exploring how the history, culture, flora and fauna of the Burren have been shaped by the region’s geology.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.