Megalodon teeth are being discovered on beaches throughout eastern North Carolina. According to reports, the fossilized teeth were found along the shore in the cities of North Topsail Beach and Surf City. Although they are not uncommon in the region, beachgoers have found “record amounts” of the massive teeth in recent weeks.
— Complex (@ComplexMag) October 27, 2015
As reported by the Weather Channel, the Megalodon teeth likely washed ashore amid Hurricane Joaquin. Although the massive storm did not strike the eastern United States directly, it did cause heavy rain, strong winds, and high tides along the entire East Coast.
Commonly referred to as Megalodon sharks, Carcharocles megalodon likely existed during the Miocene and Pliocene ages.
Although they have been extinct for more than 2.5 million years, the enormous creatures remain the subject of modern urban legends and myths.
Paleontologists estimate the enormous beasts were between 30 and 60 feet long and weighed up to 65 tons. In comparison, the whale shark, which is the largest living shark, reaches a maximum of 41 feet in length.
— PADI (@PADI) October 27, 2015
Although C. megalodon is not the largest animal known to exist, scientists believe it had “the largest bite force of any animal ever.”
A 2008 study, conducted by S. Wroe et al., used three-dimensional computer analysis to estimate the Megalodon shark’s maximum bite force, which is measured in Newtons.
The researchers concluded C. megalodon’s maximum bite force likely reached 182,000 Newtons, making it “one of the most powerful predators in vertebrate history.”
As reported by the Fossil Guy, “Fossils of C. Megalodon have been found on every continent except Antarctica.” However, their fossilized teeth are specifically interesting as they are often found intact and are generally quite large.
Megalodon teeth are usually between three and five inches in slant length. However, they can reach more than seven inches.
— David Nelson (@DavidNelsonNews) October 24, 2015
In 70 AD, Roman author and naturalist Gaius Plinius Secundus, or Pliny the Elder, wrote about his discovery of the massive teeth, which he suggested were “dropped from the sky during lunar eclipses.”
During the middle ages, C. megalodon teeth were thought to be “petrified tongues of dragons and snakes,” which were called “tongue stones.”
As reported by Cochise College, author and zoologist Louis Agassiz identified Carcharodon megalodon as a species in 1843. As the massive shark’s teeth were large and serrated, the name means “rough tooth big tooth.”
Aurora Fossil Museum Director Cynthia Crane said the fossilized teeth discovered in North Carolina were likely exposed by heavy rain and washed onto the shore during high tide.
Crane said, “It’s nice to have people finding and discovering fossils because it helps with our past and our record of paleontology of North Carolina.”
As reported by WITN, some of the teeth found on the North Carolina beaches were “about the size of an adult’s hand,” and likely came from a shark that was nearly 60 feet long.
Denny Bland, who discovered one of the teeth and shared photos via social media, said he was stunned to find the massive tooth and “felt like… a lottery winner or something.”
Although beachgoers are finding “record amounts” of the massive teeth, they are still incredibly rare. Fortunately, those who are unable to find their own Megalodon teeth can purchase them online.
In addition to modern sharks, SharksTeeth.com actually sells authentic Megalodon teeth. As stated on the company website, the teeth were found while diving off the coast of South Carolina.
The “professionally polished” fossilized teeth are between 1/2 and 5-inches in length. Although the smaller Megalodon teeth cost around $25, the largest cost more than $300.
[Image via Shutterstock/mjoo7]