South Carolina fossil hunter's dreams come true with huge megalodon tooth

South Carolina fossil hunter's dreams come true with huge megalodon tooth
Posted By @ Mar 19th 2021 8:30am In: Charleston SC Real Estate

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A dream came true for a South Carolina fossil hunter this week, when he found an enormous megalodon tooth in the Lowcountry.

Matthew Basak was doing some fossil hunting at a construction site in Summerville when he says he found this fossil shark tooth of a lifetime.

Basak, who guides fossil hunts professionally with the team at Palmetto Fossil Excursions, said he noticed what looked like a promising soil layer exposed in a drainage ditch at the construction site.

When he hopped down to take a closer look, Basak says he began probing and found one nice sized tooth before something else caught his eye in the muddy ditch bank. 

A few inches below the first tooth was a truly massive megalodon. With 5 inches of tooth showing before he'd even excavated it, Basak knew he'd found something special.

Basak says the monstrous tooth ultimately measured an astounding 6.45 inches, and initially tipped the scales at 3 pounds. Basak was in disbelief. His friends, also experienced fossil hunters, were almost speechless.

Before going extinct about 3.5 million years ago, megalodon was the largest in a lineage of mega-toothed sharks that would dwarf even the largest modern great whites by comparison.

Comparable in length to a passenger bus, megalodon is believed to have reached lengths of 40 feet, with the largest of the species exceeding 60 feet.

The 6.45-inch tooth Basak found would've belonged to just such a shark. Conventional wisdom from shark experts suggests a ratio of 10 feet in body length per 1 inch of tooth.

Fossil teeth belonging to megalodon and its mega-toothed ancestors can be found buried below ground throughout South Carolina's coastal plain, which was covered by water during higher sea levels at various times over millions of years.

Many also can be found in deposits with other fossils on the bottom of area rivers and streams, where they've settled after being eroded out of the ground over millennia.

Natural history exhibits curated by the Charleston Museum and College of Charleston show the Charleston region is generally quite rich in fossils, with an abundant fossil record dating from the last ice age to tens of millions of years earlier.

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