Australian teacher finds prehistoric shark teeth

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"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".

Together with scientists and volunteers at the museum, Fitzgerald and Mullaly went back to the beach and excavated the site on two separate expeditions.

Philip Mullaly was strolling along an area known as a fossil hotspot at Jan Juc, on the country's famous Great Ocean Road some 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Melbourne, when he found the teeth from a giant prehistoric mega-shark twice the size of a great white, AFP reported.

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Among the treasure trove of megashark teeth, the team also found prehistoric teeth belonging to a sixgill shark, which is a bottom-feeding scavenger that still swims off the coasts of Australia today.

Found along the Surf Coast in Victoria by a fossil enthusiast named Phillip Mullaly, the teeth measure a stunning 2.7 inches long, and are evidence that the megalodon wasn't the only enormous shark prowling around our ancient waters. As it was confirmed by Erich Fitzgerald, a senior curator of vertebrate paleontology, the seven-centimeter-long teeth belong to a long extinct species called the great jagged narrow-toothed shark (Carcharocles angustidens). "I knew it was an important find, which you want to share with people". This shark, which could grow up to nine meters long, was terrorizing the oceanic waters of what is now Southern Australia some 25 million years ago. After prying the almost 3-inch tooth loose from a boulder, he came back and found more teeth. 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.

Carcharocles angustidens being feasted upon by several sixgill sharks.

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He explained that nearly all fossils of sharks worldwide were just single teeth, and it was extremely rare to find multiple associated teeth from the same shark.

Fitzgerald said he believes there may be even more shark teeth at Jan Juc and even parts of a spinal column lodged in the cliff, based on what he saw during the excavation.

So with a team of paleontologists, Fitzgerald and Mullaly returned to the beach a year ago, which was south of Melbourne. Some belonged to other species of shark, but a shocking number of them belong to the Carcharocles angustidens.

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