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Saw fish jaw used by Eric Bolton Beeham

Date: 1936-1961
Overall: 1160 x 180 x 35 mm, 2.14 kg
Medium: Bone, teeth
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Elaine Beeham
Object Name: Jaw
Object No: 00036294

User Terms

    This is a jaw of a sawfish, Pristiformes. These fish are found in both marine and fresh water and are known for their very distinctive long nose or rostrum. It appears narrow and flattened and is lined on each side with sharp teeth that resemble a saw.

    SignificanceAll species of sawfish are listed as critically endangered, and risk extinction, as their populations have declined to less than 10% of historical levels. "They are hunted for their fins, flesh and other body parts, which are used in traditional medicines, or sold as souvenirs and there have also been occasions when they have been collected for live animal displays. Other than habitat loss, the greatest threat to sawfish is entanglement in fishing nets as their snout is easily caught up in nets. Sawfish have the added trouble of being caught in marine trawling nets and they have also occasionally been found tangled in shark nets off the Queensland coast". (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, Department of the Environment, Australian Government).

    HistoryThis sawfish rostrum was collected by Eric Bolton Beeham during his long career as a mechant mariner. Eric Beeham began as an apprentice and worked his way up to captain. He served in the navy during World War II and qualified as an airpilot in the1940s. He subsequently worked for several small coastal shipping companies in the years before they were swallowed up by amalgamations. His career illustrates the role of international passenger shipping, the effect of World War on his generation and the advent of aviation.

    The sawfish also notably served as the emblem of the German submarine U-96 (1940), known for its portrayal in Das Boot, and was later the symbol of the 9th U-Boat Flotilla

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