Diver Discovers Giant Prehistoric Shark Tooth off Coast of Florida

The behemoth clocked in at a whopping 6 1/6 inches in length—roughly the size of a human hand!

Over the past 10 years, boat captain Michael Nastasio has made a lot of amazing aquatic discoveries. Hunting for black gold, also known as prehistoric shark or megalodon teeth, is a longtime passion for Nastasio. He loves the thrill of the hunt so much, he even made a career out of sharing his hobby through his company Black Gold Fossil Charters.

Man holds giant shark tooth
Michael Nastasio with 6 1/6-inch prehistoric shark tooth.

The self-described "treasure hunter at heart" was on a routine charter off the coast of Venice, Florida, on October 15 when he stumbled upon a find he never thought possible: a whole 6-inch shark tooth. Most megalodon teeth are only around 4 inches long. Last December, Nastasio made headlines when a video of his reaction at finding a tooth measuring 5 7/8 inches went viral. This time, he broke even that surprising record.

"To get a whole 6-inch tooth in Venice, Florida, is extremely rare," Nastasio told Southern Living. "It's every fossil hunter's dream—a goal honestly that a lot of fossil hunters won't achieve in a lifetime of hunting."

Giant shark tooth
A prehistoric shark tooth measuring 6 1/6 inches in length. Courtesy of Michael Nastasio

Megalodon are giant prehistoric sharks that lived between 23 to 3.6 billion years ago. According to the Smithsonian, megalodons could be up 60 feet long and weigh up to 50 tons. To put it in simpler terms: Megalodons were longer than school buses and as heavy as a railroad cars. At three times the size of a great white shark, they remain the largest shark to ever live in the ocean.

Venice is often referred to as the "shark tooth capital of the world" because 10 million years ago, the area was underwater and teeming with sharks. The seas receded over time, causing the prehistoric sharks to die. And while their skeletons disintegrated, their fossilized teeth remained, according to VisitSarasota.com.

Though a 6 1/6-inch tooth is a pretty big win for Nastasio, he's far from checking off every item on his fossil bucket list. Up next he plans to go on the hunt for a golden beach tooth (a light blonde megalodon with a blueish blade) that he calls the "ultimate find."

"Each tooth is special and unique," he said. "Every time you find a really good one is like the first time all over again. It truly never gets old."

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