Teacher Finds Ferocious-Looking Prehistoric Shark Teeth From Megalodon Cousin on Beach

Australian teacher and amateur fossil finder Philip Mullaly stumbled on an incredible discovery while taking a walk on his local beach. He noticed a strange, glinting shape sticking out of the side of a boulder.

Further investigation revealed that the boulder was studded with the ferocious-looking teeth of an ancient mega shark—the first find of its kind in Australia, Museums Victoria reported.

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Teeth from a Carcharocles angustidens shark. Museums Victoria

Mullaly spotted the clutch of teeth at Jan Juc, a fossil site on the state of Victoria's Surf Coast. "I was walking along the beach looking for fossils, turned and saw this shining glint in a boulder and saw a quarter of the tooth exposed. I was immediately excited, it was just perfect, and I knew it was an important find that needed to be shared with people," Mullaly told Museums Victoria in a video (see above).

The teeth—which are almost 3 inches in length—belonged to an extinct species called the great jagged narrow-toothed shark, or Carcharocles angustidens in Latin. This massive, ancient shark grew to more than 30 feet in length and hunted the region's small whales about 25 million years ago, Museums Victoria reported. This ferocious shark was a cousin of the famous Megalodon.

"I was in a bit of shock actually because I saw it and I thought this is looking like it's complete, like it's just fallen out of a shark's mouth even though it's 25 million years old," Mullaly said, Yahoo 7 News reported.

Following his incredible discovery, Mullaly and a team from the museum returned to the spot where he first uncovered the ferocious-looking chompers. The group uncovered more than 40 teeth from the site in December 2017 and January 2018, many of which may have come from the same enormous beast.

But some of the teeth, Museums Victoria paleontologist Tim Ziegler said, came from the smaller sixgill shark (Hexanchus). Sixgill sharks, he explained, still swim in the waters around Victoria today.

The ancient creatures whose teeth they belonged to, he said, were feasting on the corpse of the larger shark in a feeding frenzy. "The teeth of the sixgill shark work like a crosscut saw, and tore into the Carcharocles angustidens like loggers felling a tree. The stench of blood and decaying flesh would have drawn scavengers from far around," Ziegler told Victoria Museums.

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Erich Fitzgerald and Philip Mullaly at the Jan Juc site where the fossils were found. Victoria Museums

Teeth provide an important insight into ancient sharks, whose bodies are largely made of cartilage, Smithsonian.com reported. This spongy material degrades over time, but hard teeth can survive millions of years embedded in rocks.

Ancient shark teeth mostly show up solo, so finding multiple teeth is an incredibly lucky find, Museums Victoria reported. Sharks regrow their teeth and can shed individual choppers daily.

"These teeth are of international significance, as they represent one of just three associated groupings of Carcharocles angustidens teeth in the world, and the very first set to ever be discovered in Australia," Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate paleontology at Museums Victoria said.

Mullaly donated his discovery to Melbourne Museum, which is currently exhibiting the terrifying-looking teeth.