A megalodon tooth, next to two great white shark teeth for comparison.
The Megalodon shark terrorized the ancient oceans with its massive teeth and powerful attacks, but it has been extinct for a very long time. According to a report from the Examiner, however, people in North Carolina have come across an artifact of its ferocity; a fossilized tooth the size of a slice of pizza.
The tooth washed up after a recent series of storms agitated the Atlantic floor. Scientists can estimate the size of the animal based on the fossilized teeth alone, and one of the teeth discovered likely belonged to a beast that was over 60 feet in length.
The megalodon likely weighed as much as 30 times more than the present-day great white, roughly 100 tons. The megalodon prowled the oceans as early as 15 million years ago, and likely cruised past many of the coastal areas we know today.
Megalodon translates to “big tooth” in Ancient Greek, and likely went extinct 2.6 million years ago, during the Cenozoic era.
Some scientists believe the shark could have reached a length of 30 meters, or 98 feet. Basford Dean reconstructed the jaw of one of the prehistoric beasts based on tooth fossils he discovered in the early 1900s, and was able to sit comfortably to the side of the lower jaw.
The find on the North Carolina beach is just a reminder of how massive these sharks used to be. They have since shrunk in size considerably, and for that we can only be thankful.