Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Amateur fossil hunter stumbles upon rare teeth from ancient mega-shark

Amateur fossil hunter stumbles upon rare teeth from ancient mega-shark

He stressed that it is rare to find a few teeth of one shark.

He added that it is extremely rare to find multiple teeth from the same shark at one time, and hypothesized that more fossils from the shark could be inside the same boulder.

A fossil hunter has made the discovery of a lifetime on a beach in Australia.

"These teeth are of worldwide significance, as they represent one of just three associated groupings of Carcharocles angustidens teeth in the world, and the very first set to ever be discovered in Australia", said Dr. Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate paleontology at Museums Victoria.

"It dawned on me when I found the second, third and fourth tooth that this was a really big deal", Mullaly said.

Mullaly donated the teeth to the Melbourne Museum, where they are on display until October 7.

Museums Victoria, and Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate palaeontology confirmed the seven centimetre-long teeth were from an extinct species of predator known as Carcharocles angustidens. After prying the almost 3-inch tooth loose from a boulder, he came back and found more teeth. What likely happened is that as the narrow-toothed shark died in the waters off of Jan Juc, the sixgill sharks descended upon the remains and had a feast, leaving some teeth behind.

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Among the treasure trove of megashark teeth, the team also found prehistoric teeth belonging to a sixgill shark, which is a bottom-feeding scavenger that still swims off the coasts of Australia today.

Mullaly ended up leading scientists from the museum to the site and they were able to extract more than 40 teeth.

So the best news is that the Carcharocles angustidens is not going to kill us, or Jason Statham.

Fitzgerald suspected they came from one individual shark and there might be more entombed in the rock.

Meanwhile, the sixgill shark teeth uncovered along with the Carcharocles angustidens fossils appear to belong to several individuals, which probably scavenged on the dead mega-shark and lost their teeth in the process.

"This find suggests they have performed that lifestyle here for tens of millions of years", Museums Victoria paleontologist Tim Ziegler said.

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