Tropical Storm Elsa churns Atlantic & helps uncover massive megalodon teeth
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — A keen shark tooth hunter hit the jackpot twice in three weeks after searching nearly every day for the past year.
Jacob Danner, an art curator, found his first megalodon tooth — 3 inches long, and in good condition — three weeks ago on Fernandina Beach. He was ecstatic.
Then, when Tropical Storm Elsa passed by on Thursday, he found another, 4-inch-long tooth.
“It makes you want to spend your whole day hunting, thinking that more must be out there,” Danner said.
Megalodon teeth are prized items for amateur collectors competing to get the largest and most pristine they can find. But they aren’t of huge scientific interest because thousands wash ashore in the Southeast, said Hans Sues, the senior scientist for the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Megalodon sharks swam across the world’s oceans 3.6 million to 20 million years ago before they went extinct. They were the largest shark ever to have lived, reaching up to 60 feet, and had several rows of teeth lining their jaws, according to the Smithsonian’s website.
“The size of the teeth scales to total body length in present-day sharks,” Sues said. “They then can use this ratio to estimate the total length of a ‘Meg.’”
During storms like Elsa, large ocean waves “scoop up a lot of seafloor sediment in shallow water and then deposit it on beaches, providing a feast for beachcombers,” Sues said.
Danner said he hopes his luck sticks around long enough to find a gold coin from a shipwreck next.
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