Just in case you forgot that Australia is a place that’s out to get you.
A fossil enthusiast has discovered the fossilised teeth of a prehistoric mega-shark said to be twice the size of a Great White.
Philip Mullaly was walking along a fossil hotspot at a beach along the Great Ocean Road some 100 kilometres from Melbourne when he saw something buried in the sand. Upon closer inspection, he found that it was a shark’s tooth. A massive one at that.
“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,” he said. “I was immediately excited, it was just perfect and I knew it was an important find that needed to be shared with people.”
The 2.7-inch-long fossil he had found belonged to a species known as the Great Jagged Narrow-Toothed Shark (Carcharocles angustidens).
The creature, which roamed the waters off Australia some 25 million years ago, hunting penguins and small whales, could grow to 29 feet in length – nearly twice as big as today’s Great White.
Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate paleontology at Museums Victoria, suspected there’d be more fossils in the area. So he led a team of experts to excavate the site. They eventually found 40 teeth in total.
“These teeth are of international significance, as they represent one of just three associated groupings of Carcharocles angustidens teeth in the world, and the very first set to ever be discovered in Australia,” he said.
The teeth are now currently on display at Melbourne Museum as part of National Science Week starting from Thursday, 9 August.