"The Meg" had one of the largest opening weekends at the cash register this year, accounting for more than $ 45 million. Central to the film is the megalodon, a gigantic prehistoric shark that ate whales and was 10 times larger than a Tyrannosaurus rex. Scientists believe that the megashark was extinct at least 2 million years ago.
Shark skeletons are mostly made of cartilage, which does not fossilize properly, so scientists have relied on the 7-inch-long teeth and plate-shaped spinal bones of the shark to learn more about the animal.
But amazingly large teeth – one of the defining features of the megalodon – are not unique to this prehistoric animal. In 2015, amateur fossil hunter Philip Mullaly found 45 shark teeth when visiting his local beach in Australia. The teeth, most of which belong to a mega-park that hunted for small whales about 25 million years ago, are part of a new exhibition opened on August 9 at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.
"I walked along the beach in search of fossils, turned around and saw this shiny shimmer in a rock and saw a quarter of the teeth," Mullaly said in a statement. "I was immediately enthusiastic, it was just perfect and I knew it was an important discovery that had to be shared with people."
Mullaly donated the teeth to Museums Victoria and added a rare display to the organization. Such collections usually contain only a few teeth.
The teeth suggest that the oceans of Australia are home to a shark that is almost twice as big as a big white one. Some of them are about 3 inches long, and scientists have determined that they belong to an extinct species called the large serrated narrow tooth shark, which grew to a length of about 30 feet.
People have previously discovered single teeth of this shark, but Mullaly was the first to find a whole set in Australia.
According to The New York Times, scientists have dug their teeth at the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. They discovered even more teeth during their travels; these belonged to the six-rowed shark, which is smaller than the large serrated, narrow toothed shark.
Tim Ziegler, a paleontologist at Museum Victoria, said in a statement that the smaller teeth came from several sharks and would have come loose while the six gillies ate the carcass of a dead, large, serrated, narrow toothed shark.
Sixgill sharks still live in Australia and feed on the remains of whales and other animals. The 45 shark teeth can be seen in Museum Victoria until 7 October.