SCIENCE

Lucky Beachcomber Finds Giant Tooth From Huge Prehistoric Shark

"I just scooped it up before another wave came in.”

22/10/2016 7:47 AM AEDT | Updated 25/10/2016 8:17 AM AEDT
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Peggy Campbell
Nat Campbell of Amherst, Virginia found the tooth in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Some people have all the luck.

A couple vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, went out combing the beach for shark teeth on Oct. 9 ― and happened upon the tooth of a megalodon, an enormous shark that went extinct more than a million years ago.

”I was standing in ankle-deep water,” Nat Campbell, of Amherst, Virginia, told The Huffington Post. “A wave came in, and there it was. I just scooped it up before another wave came in.”

Campbell said he had no idea what he had found. His wife, Peggy, thought it was a rock. But when he showed the five-inch-long tooth to workers at a nearby beach resort, he said, he was told that it belonged to a megalodon.

A worker at nearby Ripley’s Aquarium confirmed the identification, Campbell said.

Peggy Campbell
The tooth is more than five inches long.

Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon) lived from 23 million years ago until its extinction 2.6 million years ago. It was the biggest shark ever, with some specimens reaching 60 feet in length. 

That dwarfs the great white shark, which grows to about 20 feet in length.

Despite its age and size, the tooth isn’t particularly valuable. The Charlotte Observer said it was valued at more than $100.

In any case, Campbell has no plans to part with the tooth.

“I’m going to keep it,” he said. “It’s a good piece to talk about.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously located Myrtle Beach in Virginia.

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