Giant prehistoric shark teeth have been found on the North Carolina Shore, it has recently been reported.
The fossils, which are as large as an adult hand, were discovered by beachgoers on the Surf City shore and in North Topsail Beach.
It appears they may have washed up in that area following Hurricane Joaquin. The storms and high tides must have displaced the bones from the ocean floor, bringing them to the surface of the water, and eventually on the shoreline.
Denny Blend, one of the beachcombers who found the ancient teeth, declared that the unusual discovery had been similar to winning the lottery.
According to Cynthia Crane, director of the Aurora Fossil Museum located nearby, the giant incisors, which are about 6 inches long, come from a prehistoric shark which measured up to 60 feet in length.
Such an estimation was achieved by comparing teeth from modern-day sharks to those ancient fossils, and discovering that every inch of tooth length corresponds to an extra 10 feet in total shark length.
The species, called Megalodon, was actually the largest type of shark ever recorded, and its jaw was 3 around three times more powerful than that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The prehistoric shark, which eventually became extinct approximately 2.6 million years ago, was a distant predecessor of the great white shark, and measured around 3 times as much as its modern-day counterpart.
Researchers believe that in fact Megalodons got progressively larger throughout their evolution, which spanned across 14 million years during the Miocene-Pliocene period.
This new relic shows that the gargantuan predators were even larger that previous calculations, which had assessed their length at a maximum of 59 feet.
However, for now it remains a mystery exactly why their dimensions reached such colossal proportions.
“Perhaps something was going on with the productivity and climate that produced the pattern, or with their prey and their competitors that made the species become large”, explained Catalina Pimiento, of the University of Florida and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.
It’s not the first time that such fossilized teeth pertaining to this ancient predator were found on the North Carolina coast.
In fact, a record number of such remnants have been unearthed there since the beginning of the month, probably following recent storms which disrupted the seafloor.
Many centuries ago, these fossils had been wrongly considered to be lunar rocks that had fallen on Earth, while urban legends had claimed they were actually giant tongues belonging to dragons or prehistoric serpents.
However, eventually, in 1666, Danish pioneering geologist Nicolas Steno realized that in fact they were ancient shark teeth, which had remained entombed in layers of rock across the ages.
Image Source: Echo Examiner