Beachgoers in North Carolina have recently been stumbling upon a series of odd finds along local shorelines, including several oversized megalodon shark teeth that have been brought ashore by this summer’s storms.
Shark teeth are a compelling find along any beach, but in the wake of recent storm systems and higher than normal tides, beachgoers have increasingly reported uncovering them along the North Carolina coast. Among those finds, the churning waters have also apparently revealed teeth that once belonged to massive megalodon sharks, an ancient species long extinct.
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Though discoveries of the ancient shark teeth are not completely unheard of, they are understandably rare. According to Robin Nalepa, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, the discovery of a megalodon tooth would be “an unusual and exciting find” at any time. Ever since the beginning of October, however, the teeth have been found in increasing abundance along a stretch of the coast from Surf City to North Topsail Beach, according to KPTV.
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Megalodon teeth aren’t exactly an unknown commodity in the region. According to the Pilot Online, there are sites off the coast (well known by divers) where such fossils can be found. Dive tours at times visit those areas in hopes of retrieving megalodon teeth, yet such discoveries do remain rare. Processes as varied as dredging or storms can uncover the teeth however, redepositing them along the coastline where erosion can once again unveil them for beachgoers to find.
While they aren’t exactly one-of-a-kind finds, megalodon teeth can still fetch a healthy price in the world of fossils. The teeth can be found for sale online, but come with a price tag that can be higher than $300 in most cases.
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Though they have been an extinct species for several million years, megalodon sharks have re-entered the public consciousness recently, thanks to the efforts of Discovery and several programs the network aired during Shark Week. The specials, Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives and Megalodon: The New Evidence, were widely condemned by scientists as misleading, alongside another entry featuring a giant predator, Shark of Darkness: Wrath of Submarine. Though both the evidence and scientists featured in each program were entirely fictional, the shows succeeded in convincing some of the viewing public that megalodon sharks may still prowl the seas, unknown to modern science.
This is how massive the megalodon shark (extinct in 16,000,000 B.C.) would be if it still existed today. pic.twitter.com/WfYwNjaEgf
— B.C. Pictures (@WorldBeforeTime) October 14, 2015
Most recently, the megalodon has found a path to the silver screen, as production began this year on an adaptation of Steve Alten’s 20-year-old novel Meg. The story, which has experienced a torturous two-decade-long development process, centers around a group of scientists who discover a surviving population of megalodon sharks at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The film is set to be directed by Eli Roth for Warner Bros., as the Inquisitr previously reported. While the original novel saw a megalodon terrorizing the California coastline, Roth’s film will reportedly shift the action to China.
Little is known about megalodon sharks, since nothing remains of them beyond their fossilized teeth, several vertebral columns, and a handful of individual vertebrae. The ancient predators are thought to have resembled a much larger version of the great white shark, however. The teeth which have been found can measure over seven inches diagonally (the largest of any shark species), and based on estimates from those fossils it is thought that megalodon sharks could reach lengths of nearly 60 feet.