Boy Finds Tooth of Megalodon, Biggest Shark to Ever Live, on 5th Birthday

A young boy got an unexpected birthday present this month, after finding a four-inch tooth on a South Carolina beach that once belonged to a huge extinct shark.

Brayden Drew had just turned five when he and his family were vacationing at Myrtle Beach.

Digging in the sand, Brayden soon came across a large black tooth fossil. Pictures show it is almost as big as Brayden's hand.

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Megalodon tooth

The black megalodon tooth found on the beach by Brayden.
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Brayden's mom, Marissa, told Newsweek the tooth is all her son has been talking about since he found it.

"It was my son's fifth birthday on the 20th. We were on vacation down at Myrtle for the second year in a row. He was digging in the sand and found it!"

Measuring the fossil, Marissa discovered the tooth is four inches long. The family, from Plymouth, Massachusetts, is planning to frame the fossil and hang it in the house.

"My husband is now determined to keep looking for other teeth," Marissa added. "He found a huge conch shell in Cancun a few years ago. So I think it runs in the family."

Experts have confirmed to Newsweek that the tooth once belonged to a megalodon—an extinct species of shark considered to be the largest shark to ever live.

Jack Cooper, a PhD student who studies sharks and megalodon at Swansea University in the U.K., said the dental band on the front of the tooth is "very common in megalodon's family."

He added: "That size of tooth would belong to a pretty big shark too. Assuming it's an anterior tooth—center of the mouth—then you're looking at a shark that was about 32 to 39 feet long.

"I'm very jealous that [Brayden] found such a cool tooth at such a young age—that would be the dream find for me!"

Adam Smith, a curator at the Bob Campbell Geology Museum in South Carolina, told Newsweek: "That's definitely a megalodon tooth. The black coloration of the fossil is due to the mineral phosphate leaching in to the cells over time."

South Carolina is known to be rich in fossils, and a number of megalodon examples have been found there in recent months.

Tourism organization Discover South Carolina states that shark teeth and fossils can be found on most of the state's beaches, and even in inland areas. A megalodon tooth is described as "the ultimate prize" for many fossil hunters there.

In March, a fossil enthusiast found a megalodon tooth at a South Carolina construction site, measuring roughly 6.45 inches. They told Newsweek they hoped to sell it for several thousand dollars.

Websites, such as FossilEra, are set up specifically for this purpose, with megalodon teeth of varying shapes, sizes and colors available at different prices.

Many of the fossils currently on sale are listed as having been found in either North Carolina or South Carolina.

Megalodon fossils have been dated between the early Miocene Epoch and the end of the Pliocene Epoch—a period between 23.03 million and 2.59 million years ago, according to Britannica.

The megalodon's size has been estimated based on the relationship between tooth size and body mass of modern living sharks. Scientists think mature adult megalodons were about 33.5 feet long on average, though some measured as long as 58.7 feet.

Correction 5/27/2021 9:20 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to correct when the Pliocene Epoch ended.

Megalodon tooth
The tooth was measured at around four inches. Marissa Drew