Megalodon was the largest shark that ever lived, and fossil remains indicate this great beast could be nearly 60-feet long and weigh more than 75 tons.
Teeth from this giant creature, which roamed the oceans from about 17 million years ago to about 2 million years ago, are rare. The shark’s sharp, triangular teeth are also, at upward of a half-foot each, terrifyingly huge—so scary and big that you may think a megalodon tooth would be its own anti-theft device. But that was not the case recently in a North Carolina museum, where a woman stole the largest known megalodon tooth.
The Tooth Felony
The tooth in question, which measures about 7 inches long and about 5 ½ inches wide, was stolen from the North Carolina Maritime Museum by a woman who was recorded on surveillance video removing the tooth from a glass-dome exhibit and stuffing it down her pants.
The thief was later captured and arrested while trying to place the stolen tooth in a bush near the museum. She faces charges of felonious larceny. Museum officials said they would show the prehistoric shark’s tooth in a more secure case moving forward.
Dental Facts about Megalodon
Megalodon earned its scientific name, Carcharodon megalodon, in part due its teeth. The ancient shark’s teeth shared morphological similarities to those of the great white shark, so it was categorized in the same genus as the great white.
Megalodon’s teeth are notable for other reasons as well:
- Like many sharks today, megalodon had multiple rows of teeth; megalodon is thought to have had five or six rows of teeth
- Megalodon had about 276 teeth at any given time, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History
- Megalodon had 46 teeth in its front row of teeth alone; 24 in the upper jaw and 22 in the lower jaw
- Teeth, though rare, are the most common megalodon fossils in part because of the era in which the massive predator lived and in part because, as with other sharks, its skeleton was comprised of cartilage
- Like existing sharks, megalodon could replace broken or missing teeth and may have gone through hundreds of thousands of teeth in its lifetime
Unlike shark teeth, human teeth require good dental hygiene and routine checkups in order to maintain long-term oral health. If you’re searching for an experienced and compassionate dentist in the Austin, Texas, area, please contact Dr. Dan Matthews online or call our dental office at 512-452-2273 to schedule your consultation.