While searching for fossils on a beach in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex, Cydney Root, a 12-year-old schoolgirl, discovered a tooth of extraordinary size, estimated to be 20 million years old.
The tooth, which was large enough to fill a human hand, belonged to the megalodon, the largest shark that ever lived and the ruler of prehistoric oceans.
The name “megalodon” itself translates to “large tooth”. Cydney’s aunt, Sophie Freestone, immediately recognized the significance of the find.
According to Sophie Freestone, a 29-year-old, she and her family have always enjoyed searching for shark teeth and have collected many jars of them over the years.
On the day of the discovery, they had expressed their hope to find a megalodon tooth, and to their amazement, they did find one. The tooth was found on the surface of the beach, right in front of a cliff that had recently experienced a massive fall.
Sophie recounted that it was her niece, Cydney, who made the discovery. While looking down, Cydney picked up the tooth and asked Sophie what it was. When Sophie realized it was a megalodon tooth, she was stunned.
The size of the tooth is a testament to the enormous size of the megalodon, which could grow up to 18 meters in length and had jaws lined with 276 of these teeth. The crushing power of their bite was estimated to be up to 180,000 Newtons, ten times greater than that of a great white shark, according to the Natural History Museum.
The massive size and strength of this prehistoric predator have inspired Hollywood, as seen in the 2018 movie “The Meg” and its upcoming sequel. Sophie believes that megalodons used to prey on whales and even great white sharks, and their presence in the area highlights the existence of these massive creatures.
Sophie’s family has a long-standing tradition of hunting for shark teeth, but it wasn’t until last Thursday that they found a tooth from the formidable megalodon, during a trip with her nieces Florence Murphy and Cydney.
Sophie expressed her shock and amazement, as well as her pride in Cydney’s discovery. Although Sophie admits to being slightly envious of her niece’s find, she is happy for her and plans to frame the tooth as a memento.
Megalodon teeth are considered extremely rare in the UK, according to Emma Bernard from the Natural History Museum, although Walton-on-the-Naze is cited as one possible location to search for them. Megalodon teeth are more commonly found in the southeastern United States, Morocco, and Australia.
In 1843, Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz named this shark Carcharodon megalodon, based on its tooth remains. However, despite the passage of over 150 years, no further fossil evidence, such as a complete skeleton, has been unearthed to provide insight into the creature’s physical characteristics.
The Life And Adventures Of One Of History’s Greatest Romanic Poets | Lord Byron | Real History