A six-year old sifting for shark teeth on a British beach found the four-inch long tooth of a megalodon, buried for at least three million years.
Sammy Shelton found the tooth with his dad Peter on Bawdsey Beach, at Gorleston-on-Sea in Suffolk; it’s a spot where many people come to look for different shells, sharks’ teeth, and fossils from recent times and those long gone.
Semi-professional fossil hunters with trowels and knee pads for kneeling in the mud told the father and son it’s nearly unheard of to find megalodon teeth in Great Britain, despite the fact they have been found nearly everywhere on Earth.
“Sammy was very excited as we’d seen fragments of shark teeth on the beach, but nothing as big and heavy as this,” Mr. Shelton told the BBC, adding that the little boy had become “very attached to it” and that he even sleeps with it.
“Now that Sammy has found this it has really piqued his interest [in paleontology] and he took it to school to show his class,” Mr. Shelton told the Great Yarmouth Mercury.
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Megalodon didn’t live alongside the dinosaurs, but evolved as Earth returned to flourishing from the catastrophe that caused them to go extinct. They were three-times bigger than a great white shark, hypothesized as having the most powerful bite of any animal, land or sea, to ever live, and cruised the sea between 23 and 3 million years ago.
Such a massive body guarantees that nobody can chow down on you, but with a diet that consisted of animals as large as whales, it’s life was greatly dependent on there being equally enormous sea creatures around—a status quo which will never last forever, as Earth’s history bears witness.
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When megalodon (meaning big tooth) did go extinct, it did so not only from a position at the top of the food chain, but one of extreme distribution, propagating all the world’s seas apart from Antarctica’s with its 60 ton, 18 meter-long bulk.
TV scientist personality and author Ben Garrod shared little Sammy’s excitement, as the tooth was so well preserved that one could even see the enamel inside of it. Garrod added that he had looked for a megalodon tooth throughout his life, but never found one, and that maybe two or three a year are found in Britain—and they’re normally very eroded.
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