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Australian stumbles upon prehistoric mega-shark teeth at the beach

  • Published at 08:34 pm August 9th, 2018
Carcharocles angustidens
Philip Mullaly with one of the discovered tooth of the ancient mega-shark | AFP

A casual enthusiast discovered the very first set of Carcharocles angustidens teeth in Australia

A curious Australian pedestrian discovered more than the beauty of nature when he went to the beach for a stroll. Turns out he found out a rare set of teeth of a giant ancient mega-shark which weighted twice the size of the great white. 

Philip Mullaly, the locator of the ancient teeth said: "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," he added.

Museums Victoria, and Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate palaeontology confirmed the seven centimetre-long teeth were from an extinct species of predator known as Carcharocles angustidens. 

The shark, which stalked Australia's oceans around 25 million years ago, feasting on small whales and penguins, could grow more than nine metres long, almost twice the length of today's great white shark.

"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," Fitzgerald said.

He explained that almost all fossils of sharks worldwide were just single teeth, and it was extremely rare to find multiple associated teeth from the same shark. 

Fitzgerald suspected they came from one individual shark and there might be more entombed in the rock.

So he led a team of palaeontologists, volunteers, and Mullaly on two expeditions earlier this year to excavate the site, collecting more than 40 teeth in total.