On Christmas morning, a young, aspiring paleontologist discovered the treasure of a lifetime: a gigantic, 5-inch megalodon tooth.
The amazing discovery was made on Calvert Beach by Prince Frederick, Maryland fourth-grader Molly Sampson.
According to Molly, who spoke to us, her father’s passion for fossils prompted her to spend years searching Maryland’s beaches for shark teeth.
She explained, “They’re just cool because they’re extremely old.
Alicia Sampson, Molly’s mother, continued, “My daughter has always had a passion of exploring the outdoors.” She said, “She enjoys finding hidden gems.
Alicia Sampson said that Calvert Cliffs State Park in Maryland is well renowned for being a hotspot for fossil hunting.
Molly requested her parents for cold-water waders for Christmas so that she could go fossil-hunting in the Chesapeake Bay for shark teeth and other artifacts. She started out at 9:30 a.m. with her new equipment to look for the remains of extinct carnivores.
She said, “I noticed something large that resembled a shark tooth.” We were submerged at about knee depth.
She added that she attempted to use a sifting tool to grab the teeth but that it was too large. When she noticed how big the tooth was, she was “amazed.” “I felt ecstatic and startled.
When the Sampsons brought their fascinating discovery to the Calvert Marine Museum, paleontology curator Stephen Godfrey confirmed their suspicions: it was, in fact, a megalodon tooth, one of the enormous sharks that lived more than 23 million years ago.
According to Godfrey, who spoke to us, only five or six megalodon teeth of Molly’s size are typically found along the Calvert Cliffs each year.
There are people who can look for a tooth the size Molly found for their entire lifetime.
This find is something that happens only once in a lifetime.
He added that Calvert Cliffs typically yields 100 megalodon teeth per year to amateur fossil hunters. But compared to Molly’s enormous tooth, most of them are much smaller. The largest megalodon teeth ever discovered measured slightly more than 7 inches.
According to the size of the tooth, this specific megalodon was between 45 and 50 feet long.
Godfrey explained that millions of years ago, whales and dolphins would have lived in the waters off Calvert Cliffs, where they would have provided megalodons with an abundant supply of food. Shark teeth are “by far the most abundant vertebrate fossil” due to the fact that sharks replace their teeth throughout their lives and because the teeth are made of durable enamel.
Megalodons are particularly fascinating to people because, for millions of years, they were the “apex predator on Earth,” according to him.
Godfrey and Alicia Sampson expressed the hope that Molly’s discovery will encourage other kids, particularly girls, to pursue their scientific passions.
According to Godfrey, “This will inspire people of all ages, children included, to pursue their natural inclination in nature, art, music, or any of the other possibilities that are currently available to us.”
Children from all over the world have written letters to Molly expressing their delight at her discovery, according to Alicia Sampson. To share the outdoor adventures of her daughters, she created an Instagram page.
We really want to engage with other children and inspire them to enjoy outdoor activities, she said.
The enormous tooth will be displayed in a shadowbox in Molly’s room, and she plans to study paleontology in the future.