Australians discover evidence of 25-million-year-old mega shark

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Citizen scientist Philip Mullaly and professional paleontologists have found a very rare set of fossilized shark teeth at Jan Juc, a renowned fossil site along Victoria's Surf Coast.

He says the teeth date back 25 million years.

In 2015 Philip Mullaly was strolling along a beach in Victoria, Australia, when he spotted what looked like a shining serrated blade stuck in a boulder.

The almost three-inch-long teeth belonged to a now-extinct ferocious shark, aptly named the great jagged narrow-toothed shark, which is a smaller cousin of the famous megalodon shark, the subject of the new movie.

"These teeth are of worldwide 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", said Dr. Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate paleontology at Museums Victoria. The teeth discovered on the beach were around 7 cm (2.75 inches) in length.

The shark, which stalked Australia's oceans around 25 million years ago, feasting on small whales and penguins, could grow more than nine metres long, nearly twice the length of today's great white shark.

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The recently found fossilized mega-shark teeth were dated 25-million-year-old and are now on display at the Melbourne Museum until October 7th.

He contacted the senior curator of vertebrae paleontology at Museums Victoria, Erich Fitzgerald, and offered to donate the teeth, the first of its kind to be discovered in Australia.

So the best news is that the Carcharocles angustidens is not going to kill us, or Jason Statham. That cartilage does not easily decompose, which is why individual shark tooth fossils are somewhat common.

Fitzgerald suspected they came from one individual shark and there might be more entombed in the rock. However, Fitzgerald said that finding multiple teeth from a single shark is extremely rare.

The teeth belonged to Carcharocles angustidens, an extinct species that's closely related to the famous giant C. megalodon.

"This find suggests they have performed that lifestyle here for tens of millions of years", Museums Victoria paleontologist Tim Ziegler said.

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