Offbeat Man finds 25-million-year-old teeth belonging to shark twice the size of a great white

08:01  10 august  2018
08:01  10 august  2018 Source:   cnn.com

Rare teeth from ancient mega-shark found on Australia beach

  Rare teeth from ancient mega-shark found on Australia beach <p>A rare set of teeth from a giant prehistoric mega-shark twice the size of the great white have been found on an Australian beach by a keen-eyed amateur enthusiast, scientists said Thursday.</p>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 made the find.

An amateur fossil hunter at first found a single shark tooth . It led to signs of a prehistoric shark feast. He didn’t know it at the time, but the tooth he uncovered once belonged in the mouth of a 25 - million - year - old giant shark that was twice the size of a great white .

The fossilized tooth belonged to a Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark . Fossil enthusiast Philip Mullaly holds a giant shark tooth – evidence that a shark nearly twice the size of a great white once stalked Australias ancient oceans (Photo by William WEST / AFP).

Amateur fossil enthusiast Phil Mullaly knew he had found something special when he spotted something glimmering in a boulder.

Mullaly was walking along Jan Juc, a renowned fossil site along Victoria's Surf Coast in south Australia, when he spotted a partially exposed shark tooth in the rock.

Mass Shark Extinction Triggered by Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid

  Mass Shark Extinction Triggered by Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid By studying fossilized shark teeth, researchers have found that the same asteroid that killed the non-avian dinosaurs laid groundwork for today’s shark species.While dinosaurs terrorized the land, giant marine reptiles and a great diversity of sharks patrolled the seas. Some of these sharks, in a group known as the anacoracids, fed on marine molluscs and reptiles, and, as scientists report today in the journal Current Biology, the loss of these prey to the asteroid may have been a contributing factor in their extinction.

Turns out it belonged to a creature known as the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark (Carcharocles angustidens). These beasts could grow to more than nine meters in length – twice the size of a Great White Shark .

He had found a fossilised shark tooth . And not a regular shark tooth , a mega- shark tooth , twice the size of a Great White tooth at 7 centimetres long. Upon closer inspection there was a whole set of these gigantic mega- shark teeth .

"I was immediately excited, it was just perfect," Mullaly said.

That was just one of multiple teeth Mullaly found that day in 2015. Three years later, scientists have confirmed his hunch, saying Thursday that the teeth are all about 25 million years old and belonged to an extinct species of mega-toothed shark -- the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark (Carcharocles angustidens).

The ancient shark was believed to grow up to about 9 meters (30 feet) long, double the size of a great white shark. The teeth discovered on the beach were around 7 cm (2.75 inches) in length.

Mullaly's is one of the rarest finds in the history of paleontology,

according to Erich Fitzgerald, a palaeontologist at Museums Victoria who led a team to excavate the site where the initial fossils were found.

Authorities investigating shark attack at Cape Cod beach

  Authorities investigating shark attack at Cape Cod beach Authorities were investigating an apparent shark attack involving a human at an ocean-facing beach in Truro. Truro police were first notified about the incident at Longnook Beach before 4:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Sources tell WCVB a man was bitten in the leg by a shark. A medical helicopter has been called to the area. The beach on the ocean-facing coastline of Cape Cod is located in a remote stretch between Head of the Meadow Beach and Marconi Beach in Wellfleet. There have been several shark sightings in the area in recent days.

Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed sharks were the top predators of their time, having lived approximately 25 million years ago. They feasted on ancient whales, among other sea creatures. Mullaly's find is especially rare, as most shark fossils consist of a single tooth

The rare set of 7cm teeth are from a prehistoric shark that was more than twice the size of a great white .

"If you think about how long we've been looking for fossils around the world as a civilization -- which is maybe 200 years -- in (that time) we have found just three (sets of) fossils of this kind on the entire planet, and this most recent find from Australia is one of those three," Fitzgerald told CNN.

'My jaw sort of dropped'

Fitzgerald said he was first contacted by Mullaly last year about a different discovery, during which he briefly mentioned the find at Jan Juc, but it wasn't until the amateur fossil hunter brought the teeth into the museum that Fitzgerald realized how significant the discovery was.

Sharks have the ability to regrow teeth, and can lose up to a tooth a day. That cartilage does not easily decompose, which is why individual shark tooth fossils are somewhat common. However, Fitzgerald said that finding multiple teeth from a single shark is extremely rare.

"That doesn't happen. That just doesn't happen. That's only happened once before in Australia, and that was a totally different species of shark," he said.

Father rescues daughter who was bitten by shark on NC island

  Father rescues daughter who was bitten by shark on NC island A father came to his daughter's rescue after she was bitten by a shark on a North Carolina island. Authorities said a shark bit the girl's calf as she was swimming on the east side of Bald Head Island on Sunday morning. The Brunswick County Sheriff's Office said in a report that the shark bit the girl's right calf as she swam, but she was on a sandbar when she was first heard screaming. The report said the girl's father ferried her to the beach on a surfboard; a surfing instructor nearby witnessed the scene and called 911. She was taken to a hospital in Wilmington and the Bald Head Island Department of Public Safety said the girl was "bitten by something believed to be a juvenile shark," and the wound was not life-threatening. READ MORE: Father rescues daughter who was bitten by shark on NC island CHECK OUT WYFF: Get the latest Greenville news and weather. For live, local, late-breaking Greenville, SC, news coverage, WYFF is the place to be.

That’s almost twice the size of the great white . First of all, this is the first time that fossilized teeth belonging to this mega- shark species have turned up in Australia. As he explained, sharks have quickly regenerating teeth , which regularly replace older ones.

The chance discovery of more than 40 teeth from a Carcharocles angustidens shark that lived 25 million years ago has excited palaeontologists because it's the first time a set of the seven centimetre-long serrated chompers have been found in Australia.

When Mullaly told him the boulder he found was still on the beach, Fitzgerald said "my jaw sort of dropped."

Fitzgerald organized a team to get down to the south Australia coast. They chose to conduct the excavation in December 2017, when the tides were low. Within 20 minutes of searching, Fitzgerald's team started to find teeth.

In the end, they extracted more than 40 different specimens. Fitzgerald attributes the finds to dogged work and a bit of luck.

"Paleontology is one of the last branches of science where serendipity, where chance events, timing, coincidence plays a most vital role," he said.

"On that particular day at that particular time, Phil Mullaly was the right man for the job on that beach on the southern coast of Australia."

Sharks eating sharks

The teeth Fitzgerald's team found didn't just belong to the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark. They also found teeth belonging to several different Sixgill sharks (Hexanchus), Museums Victoria said, a species that still roams Australia's coastal waters.

Researchers believe those teeth were left behind as a result of getting lodged in the carcass of the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark as smaller sharks fed on it after the much larger animal died.

Was a great white shark to blame for Cape Cod attack?

  Was a great white shark to blame for Cape Cod attack? Massachusetts' leading shark expert is trying to determine if the first person to be attacked in waters off the state since 2012 was bitten by a great white shark.&nbsp;TRURO, Mass. — Massachusetts' leading shark expert is trying to determine if the first person to be attacked in waters off the state since 2012 was bitten by a great white shark.

Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed sharks were the top predators of their time, having lived approximately 25 million years ago. They feasted on ancient whales, among other sea creatures. Mullaly's find is especially rare, as most shark fossils consist of a single tooth

He had found a fossilised shark tooth . And not a regular shark tooth , a mega- shark tooth , twice the size of a Great White tooth at 7 centimetres long. Upon closer inspection there was a whole set of these gigantic mega- shark teeth .

"The teeth of the sixgill shark work like a crosscut saw, and tore into the Carcharocles angustidens like loggers felling a tree. The stench of blood and decaying flesh would have drawn scavengers from far around," Museums Victoria palaeontologist Tim Ziegler said in a statement.

"Sixgill sharks still live off the Victorian coast today, where they live off the remains of whales and other animals. This find suggests they have performed that lifestyle here for tens of millions of years."

What's next?

Fitzgerald's team has finished their field research and are now working to learn more about how the teeth of the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed shark developed in order to better understand its evolutionary history.

"If we can find out any more clues about the lifestyle (and) the ecology of this extinct species, that might shed light as to what led to its extinction," he said.

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. For now, those potential samples are about 20 meters (65 feet) high, out of the reach of excavators.

"I'm willing to bet there's more up there," he said. "We'll be waiting and ready for the next expedition down to salvage a giant prehistoric shark."

Great white shark breaches at feet of startled scientist; ‘Did you see that!’ .
A scientist hoping to capture footage of a great white shark off Cape Cod, Mass., was startled by a large shark that breached directly beneath him as he stood on the research vessel's bowsprit."Did you see that! Did you see that!" Greg Skomal, a state biologist, exclaims in the video. "It came right up, and opened its mouth right at my feet.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!