Huge Tooth of Megaldon, Biggest Shark to Ever Live, Found on Beach

The 4.3-inch-long tooth of a prehistoric megalodon, the biggest shark to ever live, has been found on a beach in England.

A member of the public found the tooth on the Naze, a headland on the coast of Essex, in eastern England. The area is deemed an area of international importance due to the wildlife that inhabits the area, and is also known for its fossils.

The person who made the finding to the Naze Nature Discovery Centre, which shared a photo of the tooth on its Facebook page on Tuesday. The center said it was the second megalodon tooth found at the Naze in 2021.

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Megalodons lived in warm and subtropical waters around the world during the Miocene period, between 3.6 to 20 million years ago. Long extinct, they are thought to be an ancestor of the great white shark. Reaching up to 49 feet in length, they are the largest fish ever known.

The center said the finding was "rare," with three reported to it in 2019, and two within two weeks this year.

In 2019, two children aged 5 and 9 years old found a megalodon tooth, the Clacton Gazette reported. Peter Stewart, who found the tooth with his grandchildren said at the time: "After searching for only a few minutes, we found one belonging to a 50 million-year-old Megladon shark, the biggest fish that ever lived.

"The find was confirmed as very rare by staff at the visitor centre."

Following the more recent discovery, the center wrote on Facebook: "This tooth has been very well preserved and the serrated edge is still visible. The left-hand proportion is missing and it still measures a whopping 11 cm [4.3 inches]!"

It went on to urge potential fossil hunters to be cautious, writing: "Please be aware that the Naze cliffs are a site of special scientific interest and digging/climbing on the cliffs is prohibited. Most fossils can be found on the beach where it is safe to fossil hunt."

While many Facebook users in the comments section below the image were amazed by the find, some were skeptical that the tooth originated from the Naze.

One user said he believed that the tooth was from the U.S. and "planted by a well meaning fossil hunter."

Megalodon fossils have been found in shallow tropical and temperate seas on the coasts and continental shelf regions of every continent except Antarctica. The North and South Carolina coasts are known as hotspots for finding the teeth.

The center replied that the tooth "was found encapsulated in London clay on the Naze beach, odd as this is a Miocene period fossil and the clay is Eocene. The meg teeth found at the Naze originate from a junction layer between the red crag and the London clay. Once the clay was washed off the tooth remained."

Newsweek has contacted the center for comment.

Jack Cooper, a PhD student who studies sharks and megalodons at Swansea University in the U.K., told Newsweek the find is "very clearly of a megalodon tooth given its large size and distinct dental band between the crown and the root and serrations along the tooth's cutting edge.

"Furthermore, the only area where megalodon teeth have ever been found in the U.K. to my knowledge is indeed in the Essex area, specifically the red crag formation, although the teeth are quite rare there. If this is a find from the Naze, then it would be a very rare find indeed."

Cooper said: "Regardless of the tooth's exact origin, megalodon teeth are so incredibly rare in the U.K. anyway that its finding at all is quite remarkable."

prehistoric megalodon shark tooth
A stock image shows a prehistoric megalodon tooth on the left, and a great white shark tooth on the right. A megaldon tooth was found on the coast of Essex.