Teeth from ancient mega-shark discovered on Australian beach

Teeth from ancient mega-shark discovered on Australian beach

"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 ever to be discovered in Australia", stated Dr. Erich Fitzgerald, a Senior Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

Known also as the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark, this prehistoric creature traveled the oceans 25 million years ago and probably measured over 30 feet.

Philip Mullaly, the locator of the ancient teeth said: "I was walking along the beach looking for fossils, turned and saw this shining glint in a boulder and saw a quarter of the tooth exposed".

A local museum confirmed that the 7cm-long teeth belonged to an extinct species known as the great jagged narrow-toothed shark.

That was just one of multiple teeth Mullaly found that day in 2015.

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

It's rare to find more than one matching shark tooth at a time because sharks naturally lose their teeth one at a time throughout their lives, so finding such a large number in the same place was unexpected.

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The recently found fossilized mega-shark teeth were dated 25-million-year-old and are now on display at the Melbourne Museum until October 7th.

Mullaly's is one of the rarest finds in the history of paleontology, according to Erich Fitzgerald, a palaeontologist at Museums Victoria who led a team to excavate the site where the initial fossils were found.

The species, still alive today, likely fed on the remains of the megatooth shark after it died. At the same time, ancient teeth are seldom preserved, because the cartilage in their make-up doesn't fossilize easily. The theory is that the other sharks came to feast on the carcass of the dead mega shark and lost teeth during the feast.

He explained that nearly all fossils of sharks worldwide were just single teeth, and it was extremely rare to find multiple associated teeth from the same shark.

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.

"The stench of blood and decaying flesh would have drawn scavengers from far around", he said. "They are still sharp, even 25 million years later".

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