Schoolboy discovers rare Megalodon tooth on UK beach
Posted On May 10, 2022
A six-year-old boy from the UK has discovered a rare tooth belonging to the largest shark species that ever lived – known as the Megalodon.
Megalodon, meaning “big tooth”, is an extinct species of mackerel shark that lived approximately 23 to 3.6 million years ago.
Sammy Shelton, from the village of Bradwell, spotted the fossilised tooth while walking with his dad on Bawdsey Beach in the county of Suffolk—located in the southeast of the UK, the Great Yarmouth Mercury reported.
“We knew what it was but not how rare it was,” the boy’s father, Peter Shelton, told the Mercury.
Shelton said other people on the beach were able to tell them how rare and significant the tooth really was, since Bawdsey Beach is popular with serious fossil hunters.
“One of the chaps seemed to be an authority and said he had been looking for fossils for years and years and never found one of that size and complete.”
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“Now that Sammy has found this it has really piqued his interest and he took it to school to show his class.”
The shark is considered to be one of the largest and most powerful predators ever to have lived, with some estimates suggesting that it could have grown to between roughly 50 feet and 60 feet in length, according to the Natural History Museum in London.
UK author Professor Ben Garrod said the “once-in-a lifetime” find was “a really lovely discovery” adding the enamel and root were still visible.
“I have looked for one since I was Sammy’s age and never found one,” he said.
“They are found all over the world but we do not often find them in the UK, just a couple a year.
“It is a really unusual discovery and usually they are much more heavily eroded than this one. It’s a really nice one for a British one.”
Since sharks don’t have bones, most of what we know about megalodon comes from its large fossil teeth – getting through up to 40,000 in its lifetime with a set shed once every one to two weeks.
The largest megalodon tooth ever found was 17.5cm long – almost three times longer than the average tooth of a modern great white shark.