Schoolgirl Finds Giant 20 Million-Year-Old Shark Tooth on Beach

It's from the biggest shark in recorded history.

A 12-year-old British girl discovered a large, 20-million-year-old shark tooth from the biggest shark in recorded history. Cydney Root was looking for fossils on a beach in Essex when she made the discovery. Her aunt, Sophie Freestone, recognized it as being from a megalodon, a giant shark from prehistoric times whose name means "large tooth." "We've always hunted for shark teeth, we've got jars of them and we were saying that day how amazing it would be to find a meg tooth, and we found one," Freestone told the Daily Mail.

"Oh My God!"


"The day before there was a massive cliff-fall, so we went down the next day and it was just in front of the cliff—it was just sitting there on the surface," said Freestone. When her niece Cydney discovered the object, 'She was like "Sophie, what's this?" And I was like, 'Oh my God, it's a meg tooth!'."

Many Teeth in a Massive Jaw


The megalodon—which went extinct about 3.6 million years ago—grew up to 60 feet long, and their jaws contained 276 teeth. (Remember, humans have 32.) According to the UK's Natural History Museum, their bite possessed up to 180,000 Newtons of crushing power, ten times that of a great white. "They were bigger than whales," Freestone told the Daily Mail. "I think they used to eat whales, and I know they used to eat great whites."

First Discovery for Family 


Freestone's family has hunted for sharks' teeth on the beach for years. But last week, when she was joined by nieces, was a watershed moment: It was the first time any of them found a megalodon tooth. "We were really shocked and amazed," said Freestone. "I was glad I was with her and I'm really proud that she found it. But I was slightly jealous, I'm not gonna lie—she beat me to it!' If you'd like to have a megalodon tooth of your own, several sites sell the huge choppers, including Etsy and eBay. 

A Megalodon Discovery in Maryland


Late last year, 10-year-old fossil collector Molly Sampson discovered a megalodon tooth on Calvert Beach in Maryland. Her find drew headlines and a call from the Kelly Clarkson Show, where the youngster showed off her discovery, so large it couldn't entirely fit in her hand. Sampson and her parents went exploring on Christmas Day, with Molly wearing the waders she had requested as a holiday gift. "I saw something big, and it looked like a shark tooth," she told CNN. "We were about knee deep in the water." It was too big to be dislodged with a sifting tool. 

"Once-in-a-Lifetime" Find


Sampson told CNN she was "amazed" when she realized just how large the tooth was. "I was so excited and surprised," she said. A local paleontologist confirmed that it was indeed the tooth of a megalodon. Only five or six are found in the area each year. "There are people that can spend a lifetime and not find a tooth the size Molly found," said Stephen Godfrey of the Calvert Marine Museum. "This is like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of find."

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