Oyster Growing on a Set of False Teeth

Oysters will grow on almost any surface, including false teeth, if that's what happens to be available. The tooth-growing oyster shown above was found in the Chesapeake Bay in 1898, and sent to the Smithsonian where they were put on display and became quite a popular attraction. But soon a paternity battle erupted around them. From The Strand magazine, 1903:

A man from Iowa claimed the teeth, saying that he had lost them, under not wholly peculiar circumstances, from a steamer passing that way. The object was too great a curiosity to be parted with, and the difficulty of the authorities in deciding whether or not to surrender the teeth was solved by a later claim for the teeth from a Philadelphia woman, and by a third claim from someone who saw the oyster on exhibition.

Half a century later, in 1954, yet another guy insisted the teeth were his, but in this case the Smithsonian was able to definitively rule out his claim since the guy hadn't even been born yet when the teeth were found. I'm guessing the Smithsonian probably still has this famous oyster hidden away somewhere in its archives.

Some folks will go to any lengths for a free meal!
Posted by Expat47 in Quincy, IL on 11/26/12 at 10:01 AM
The beauty of a set of false teeth is that you never need to go to a dentist to have them worked on - you just mail them in.
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 11/26/12 at 10:32 AM
Nowadays if someone claimed something like that they would be threatened with a fine for littering the bay. No more claim then.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 11/26/12 at 09:12 PM
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