A rare set of teeth from a giant prehistoric mega shark, twice the size of the big white, has been found on an Australian beach by a keen amateur enthusiast, researchers said Thursday.
Philip Mullaly walked along an area called a fossil hotspot at Jan Juc, on the country’s famous Great Ocean Road, about 1
00 kilometers from Melbourne, when he did the search.
“I walked along the beach looking for fossils, turned and saw this shining shine in a rock and saw a quarter of the teeth exposed,” he said.
“I was immediately excited, it was just perfect and I knew it was an important function book that had to be shared with people.”
He told Victoria’s museums, and Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate paleontology, confirmed seven centimeters long (2.7 inch) teeth from an extinct species of predators known as the large chopped smashed shark (Carcharocles Angustidens) .
The shark, which stalked the Australian oceans about 25 million years ago, attaches to small whales and penguins can grow more than nine meters long, almost twice as tall as today’s big white shark.
“These teeth are of international importance, because they represent one of only three associated groups of Carcharocles Angustid’s teeth in the world and the first set ever discovered in Australia, said Fitzgerald.
He explained that almost all fossils of sharks all over the world were only single and it was extremely rare to find several associated teeth from the same shark.
This is because sharks, which have the ability to regain teeth, lose one tooth a day and cartilage, the material of a Fitzgerald suspects they came from an individual shark and may be more entombed in the mountain.
Then he led a team of paleontologists, volunteers and Mullaly on two expeditions earlier this year to excavate the site and collected more than 40 teeth in total.
Most came from the mega cave, but several smaller teeth were found also from the six-hail (Hexanchus), which is still available today.
Museums Victoria paleontologist Tim Ziegler said the sex guilders were from several different individuals and would have been dislodged as they scavenged on the carcocle’s Angustid’s body after dying.
“The stench of blood and decaying meat would have hit savior from far away,” he said.
“Sixgill sharks still exist outside the Victorian hills t today, where they live from the remains of whales and other animals. This suggests that they have been doing this lifestyle for tens of millions of years.”
End-Cretaceous extinction liberated modern shark diversity