Avery Fauth discovered a megalodon shark tooth recently at North Topsail Beach. The megalodon went extinct millions of years ago, and it is believed to have been the largest shark ever.
— Kailey Tracy (@KaileyWECT) April 17, 2019
“I’m looking around and I see something buried in the sand. I uncovered it and it keeps coming, and it’s this big tooth, and then I hold it up and I’m screaming for my mom,” she told WECT, which reported on her finding.
“I was really shocked and excited for her that she found something that big,” a family member told the news outlet.
Other than the one tooth, she and her sisters found five others. But hers was the biggest.
“I was just like, is this a dream, because I didn’t believe I found it, and then I took it out and it was one [a megalodon tooth],” Fauth added. “They’re really rare to find and they’re some pretty big teeth and they’re pretty cool.”
Fauth’s father said that he had been searching for megalodon teeth for 25 years, but he never found anything.
The girl said that she’s planning to tell her class about the find when she returns from spring break. However, she won’t take it to school because she’s afraid someone might break it.
How Big Were Megalodons?
The prehistoric sharks were quite large in size, but according to LiveScience, they might not be as large as people think.
“Going solely by the size of the teeth, some believe that the fish could grow up to 60 feet long (18 meters), according to the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, while others think that about 80 feet (25 m) long is more likely,” states the website.
Other scientists believe they may have been even smaller.
“Original calculations greatly overestimated the size of megalodon,” researcher Marty Becker told LiveScience. “This is in part related to the fact that the megalodon fossil record is dominated almost exclusively by teeth. Current calculations indicate that megalodon may have achieved lengths up to 10 meters [around 33 feet] and nothing like what is currently featured in the summer 2018 movie ‘The Meg.'”
Great white sharks can reach 20 feet in length, and the largest shark, the whale shark, can grow to 32 feet in length.
The largest megalodon tooth ever found measured about 7 inches in length.
The Florida Museum states the species went extinct about 2.6 million years ago.
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“Because of their size and speed, and their powerful bite, megalodon sharks were capable of eating many different kinds of animals in ancient oceans. These large sharks probably preyed on whales and other marine mammals, giant turtles and seals,” the museum says.
Megalodon teeth have been found around the world, but much about the creature remains a mystery.
“So far we’ve only found teeth and vertebrae of megalodons. Like other sharks, most of their skeleton is made from cartilage which doesn’t preserve well in the fossil record. There’s still lively debate in the scientific community about the modern species of sharks to which megalodon is most closely related,” according to the museum’s website.