Could this giant tooth have prehistoric origins?

By Melissa Busch, assistant editor

November 16, 2020 -- A woman hunting for shark teeth recently discovered a tooth about the size of a human palm on Hunting Island in South Carolina. She believes the tooth belonged to the prehistoric megalodon shark, according to news reports.

Missy Tracewell has found numerous shark teeth over the years, but they were nothing compared to the monster-sized tooth she plucked from puddled sand a few feet from the shoreline. She was thrilled with her find, and it caused a major stir when she posted it on social media.

A previously unearthed fossilized tooth from a megalodon shark.
A previously unearthed fossilized tooth from a megalodon shark. Image courtesy of janeb13 via Pixabay.

Many wondered what type of beast had a mouth filled with such large teeth, but Tracewell and many of her social media followers are confident the tooth belonged to one of the largest predators ever -- the megalodon shark. It hasn't been confirmed yet by geological experts, according to reports.

A water monster

Megalodon sharks and their enormous knife-like, serrated teeth, which were used to feast on fleshy marine life such as dolphins and whales, first appeared about 16 million years ago. They became extinct about 3.6 million years ago. The sharks were up to 50 ft long and weighed 30 times more than a great white shark, according to NCpedia, a site managed by North Carolina's Government and Heritage Library.

Scientists believe the shark had the strongest bite of any creature that has ever lived, and their jaws likely were powerful enough to flatten a small car. Changing ocean conditions likely led to their demise, they believe.

The teeth, which were up to 7 inches long, can be found on the beaches of South Carolina and North Carolina. In 2013, North Carolina signed a law making fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark its state fossil, according to NCpedia.

Copyright © 2020

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