To an amateur fossil collector, seeing a juvenile Megalodon tooth for the first time can be a surprise. Most of the time, these juvenile Megalodon teeth are often labeled as fossil great white shark teeth, but if you look closely, there are a few distinct differences between the two.

Let’s start off with the overall root shape. On the left, is the juvenile Megalodon, and on the right is the fossil great white, both upper position teeth. With the Meg, you can see that the two root lobes are raised and more distinct, while the great white’s lobes lay more flat.

Meglaodon-vs-Great-White-Root

Left: Megalodon tooth with two clearly defined root lobes. Right: Fossil Great White shark tooth with much flatter root.

Next, let’s compare the serrations between both teeth. The serrations for a great white tend to be thicker and can often split, dividing what would have been one solid serration, into two (see arrows in the picture). On a Megalodon tooth, even with a juvenile, the serrations are usually finer and don’t produce split characteristic like the great white.

meg-vs-great-white-serrations

Left: Megalodon tooth with fine serrations. Right: Fossil Great White shark tooth with distinctive course serrations.

Last, let’s take a look at the bourlette. The bourlette of each tooth is located between the root and the enamel. The Megalodon has a thick bourlette while the great white has more of a pencil thin bourlette. If you’re truly unsure about whether a tooth is a Megalodon or a great white, the bourlette is usually the best thing to look for since they are extremely different.

Meg-Vs-Great-White-Bourlette

Left: Megalodon tooth with wide bourlette. Right: Fossil Great White shark tooth with very thin bourlette.