Amateur fossil hunter stumbles upon rare teeth from ancient mega-shark

Amateur fossil hunter stumbles upon rare teeth from ancient mega-shark

Fossil enthusiast Philip Mullaly holds a giant shark tooth-evidence that a shark almost twice the size of a great white once stalked Australia's ancient oceans-at the Melbourne Museum on August 9, 2018.

He added that it is extremely rare to find multiple teeth from the same shark at one time, and hypothesized that more fossils from the shark could be inside the same boulder.

"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", he said.

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Upon examination, the teeth were found to have belonged to a type of shark called the "great jagged narrow-toothed shark", or Carcharocles angustidens, Fox News reported. Fitzgerald said that each Carcharocles angustidens tooth they found came from a different spot in the shark's jaw, which meant that all of the teeth most likely came from the same individual megashark.

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.

"By donating his discovery to Museums Victoria, Phil has ensured that these unique fossils are available for scientific research and education both now and for generations to come".

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Philip Mullaly found the set of shark teeth in Jan Juc, a renowned fossil site along Victoria's Surf Coast.

Researchers believe those teeth were left behind as a result of getting lodged in the carcass of the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark as smaller sharks fed on it after the much larger animal died. At the same time, ancient teeth are seldom preserved, because the cartilage in their make-up doesn't fossilize easily.

Meanwhile, the sixgill shark teeth uncovered along with the Carcharocles angustidens fossils appear to belong to several individuals, which probably scavenged on the dead mega-shark and lost their teeth in the process. "The stench of blood and decaying flesh would have drawn scavengers from far around".

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"This find suggests they have performed that lifestyle here for tens of millions of years", Museums Victoria paleontologist Tim Ziegler said. According to Fitzgerald, the vast majority of shark dental remains consist of single fossilized teeth.

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