I could provide references... but I've just realized that Google Books is giving away free an entire ebook copyrighted in 2004 that is for sale as a Kindle on Amazon for $25.99. I'm not going to assist in ripping off the author!
Anyway, this year, I had the amazing fortune to receive the best shark tooth hunting lesson ever from one Nasif who works for the Ritz Carlton. Nasif drew wide circles with his finger in the gritty sand, and tell me to find the tooth. I found three --eventually-- thanks to him. I also found a quite large fossilized tooth just tumbling in the surf. What a thrill.
Since then, I did a bit of pondering, and wondered why tourists obsess (as they do) over finding shark teeth and turning them into necklaces. There's probably an ingrained superstition about wearing fierce bits of creatures we fear in life... that's why we call them amulets, talismans, charms, juju, totems.
Hercules wore a lion skin. Crocodile Dundee wore a whole lot of teeth. Viking Berserkers wore bear skins and bones. (For a list of types of villains http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/Types_of_Villains_A-C ) The Kurgan villain in Highlander wore a scull as a helmet.
But why on earth do people make jewelry out of turds? Out of moose poop or deer poop to be specific? I first heard of that charming custom when visiting Saab in Trollhattan, but apparently, they make earrings and necklaces out of moose do in Maine, too.
Other strange dangling ornaments available online include rings and earrings made of human molars, bat bits, mouse fetuses, coyote claws, cat claws, small fish (in liquid), squid bits (in liquid), bird skulls, and more besides.
So, in an alien romance, what totems might an alien sport? And why? Is there anything new under the sun?