A 12-year-old girl, Sydney Root, was recently beachcombing in Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex when she stumbled upon a tooth from the extinct Megalodon shark, one of the largest fish to ever exist. The discovery, estimated to be over 23 million years old, has been making headlines around the world.
According to the Daily Mail, Sydney and her aunt, Sophie Princeton, who share a passion for hunting for shark teeth on the beach, immediately recognised the tooth as belonging to the prehistoric predator, Megalodon. Sophie described the moment they found it, saying that “after part of a cliff had fallen away, the next day we saw this huge tooth on the beach.” She also noted that her niece, Sydney, had a feeling it was from a Megalodon as soon as she saw it.
The fossil they found is approximately the size of an adult’s palm and is triangular in shape. This allows experts to estimate the size of the Megalodon, which could reach up to 20 meters in length and weigh over 100 tonnes. Megalodon means “giant tooth,” and they had around 280 teeth in their jaws at any given time.
These prehistoric sharks were top predators in the oceans, and their bite was estimated to be ten times stronger than that of a crocodile. They are thought to have eaten whales and even other sharks. Researchers have even found evidence of Megalodon bite marks on the fossilized bones of whales.
Despite their incredible power, the Megalodon went extinct around 3.6 million years ago. The cause of their extinction is still unknown, although some theories suggest that it may have been due to a change in the behavior of their prey, such as the arrival of more agile and intelligent whales.
The discovery made by Sydney and her aunt is not only significant in adding to our knowledge of the Megalodon but also serves as a reminder of the incredible history and diversity of life that has existed on our planet.