Researchers with the Ocean Exploration Trust discovered a huge megalodon tooth on the floor of the Pacific Ocean this past summer. Katie Kelley and Rebecca Robinson, professors of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, confirmed the find at the time. The tooth was found 10,000 feet below the surface of the ocean near the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, where the research group was headed.
“While examining nodule samples for our expedition to [Johnson Atoll] with Pacific Islands: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” the Trust wrote on Facebook, “researchers discovered this massive shark tooth! [remote operated vehicle] Hercules scooped this from the ocean floor at 3,089 meters deep on an unnamed seamount within the [Pacific Remote Islands National Monument] We believe it belonged to the infamous extinct megalodon, but only time (and further lab analysis) will tell!”
Jack Cooper, a researcher in paleobiology at Swansea University in the U.K., spoke with Newsweek recently about the find, which was unveiled on Wednesday. “The tooth very much looks like a megalodon tooth to me based on its size and serrations alone,” he said. “To my knowledge, this is the first tooth found in this area—or at least the first one publicly documented. If that’s true, then this extends megalodon’s range even further than originally thought.”
The earliest megalodon tooth dates back 23 million years, and its range stretched all over the globe. Researchers have found fossilized remains on nearly every coast except Antarctica. Especially around South Carolina, Baja California, Maryland, and Peru, according to Cooper.
Researchers Find Massive Tooth in Pacific Ocean, Unearthing New Knowledge About the Shark’s Environmental Range
Cooper posits that the remote location of the tooth provides new knowledge about the megalodon. “What’s particularly interesting about this location to me,” he said, “is how remote and way out in the ocean it is, compared to the generally coastal habitats megalodon teeth are found in. This suggests to me that the shark might have been migrating across the ocean when it lost that tooth.”
Apparently, Cooper and a Swansea colleague, Catalina Pimiento, have a theory. The megalodon may have migrated across oceans to take advantage of new feeding grounds. This tooth could prove that theory, or at least back it up.
Shark Tooth Found in Phosphate Mine Could Be Megalodon
Recently, a couple found a shark tooth in a phosphate mine. They took to Reddit for help identifying what kind of shark it could have come from. The pictures show a tooth much too large to be a great white. So, users posited that it could be a megalodon. Ashby Gale, a paleontologist and owner of Charleston Fossil Adventures, saw the photo and theorized that it could be between 3.6 and 15.9 million years old.