A megalodon tooth was recently discovered in a phosphate mine, an expert has confirmed Pleasemynews.
Reddit user BushyBeaver187 posted a photo of the triangular tooth on the platform, asking other users if they could help identify it.
“A girlfriend found this in a phosphate mine. After googling, we are trying to determine if it is a large white tooth or a megalodon. Any help appreciated!” the user wrote in a comment.
The megalodon (Otodus megalodon) was a species of giant shark thought to have evolved around 20 million years ago. It swam the world’s oceans for the next 13 million years before disappearing. The great white shark is a close relative of the megalodon.
The species is one of the largest and most powerful predators to have ever lived. Scientists believe it could have reached 50 to 60 feet in length.
Most known megalodon remains are teeth. These are sometimes found on beaches around the world. Due to the similarity in shape, it can be difficult to tell the difference between megalodon teeth and great white shark teeth.
Reddit users followed the thread and speculated what species the tooth might belong to. Many believe it was a megalodon rather than a great white shark.
Ashby Gale, paleontologist and owner of Charleston Fossil Adventures said Pleasemynews that the tooth “is actually” from a megalodon. He said the fossil could date back between 3.6 and 15.9 million years.
Shark teeth fossilize fairly easily, while the rest of the animal is rarely preserved.
The size of the megalodon tooth in the Reddit image is unclear. Some can be very large, with the largest ever found measuring nearly 7 inches long.
As megalodons lived in seas around the world, fossilized megalodon teeth can be found in coastal areas around the world.
In the United States, common places to encounter teeth are found along the southeast Atlantic coast, ranging from Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, and Maryland.
Florida is where most fossil hunters go to find fossilized teeth. It is believed that Florida was once a nursery for megalodons, which means the females are said to have their young there. Great white sharks still use nurseries today. They are usually found in shallow protected water areas, where the young can learn to fend for themselves.
In August, a fossil hunter found several large megalodon teeth in North Carolina.
Researcher Jonathan Valentine said in a YouTube video that one tooth was 6 inches long, while another was 5.5 inches.