"It's a Monster in Person": Huge Prehistoric Shark Tooth Turns up at South Carolina Construction Site
Sometimes one man's construction site turns out to be another man's gold mine.
Last week, fossil hunter Matthew Basak was searching a construction site in Summerville, South Carolina, when he noticed a shark tooth protruding from the side of a drainage ditch.
Basak, who was visiting from Savannah, Georgia, told The Charlotte Observer that after prying the tooth from the mud, he was surprised to discover another buried beneath it. The second was the biggest megalodon tooth he had ever seen—and he's seen plenty.
"I really wanted to scream," he recalled to The Charlotte Observer. "This is the thing I've been hunting my whole life now."
According to Basak, the prehistoric chomper measures 6.45 inches long, and weighs about three pounds.
"It's a monster in person," he told the paper. "It's bigger than my hand, and I have the biggest hands."
Speaking with Southern Living, Basak called the "magnificent find" the greatest item in his fossil collection, which includes more than 250 megalodon teeth.
While megalodon teeth are relatively common in the Carolinas, ones of this size are not. The unofficial record for longest megalodon tooth found in South Carolina is reportedly 6.5 inches, just a centimeter bigger than Basak's monster.
The giant shark species, which went extinct approximately 3.6 million years ago, could reach 60 feet in length. The largest fish that ever lived, it's thought that megalodon gobbled up as much as 2,500 pounds of food per day—a feat that required considerable teeth.
As for Basak's megalodon tooth, he told The Charlotte Observer that he hasn't decided what to do with it yet. For now, he's just basking in the glory of his once-in-a-lifetime find.
"It was super exciting," he said. "The shark gods were with me."