Nine-year-old girl discovers rare 15-million-year-old shark tooth at Maryland beach

A nine-year-old child has discovered a rare shark tooth, which is 15 million-years-old, on a beach in Maryland.

Alicia Sampson recalled how her daughters, Molly, nine, and Natalie, 17, went shark tooth hunting on Christmas Day during a recent interview with The Washington Post. She said that once she and her family got to Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs State Park, Molly discovered a five-inch tooth, which was once in the mouth of a now-extinct megalodon shark.

“Molly has been searching for a meg because she knows how big they can be, and also how rare they are,” Alicia said. “Molly has literally been shark tooth hunting since she could walk on the beach.”

The mother also revealed that her husband, Bruce, has spent decades hunting for shark teeth and that Molly has collected over 400 teeth.

The megalodon has been extinct for more than 3.6 millions years, as noted by National Geographic. However, the shark tooth that Molly found dates back even earlier than that.

During her interview with The Washington Post, Alicia also revealed that her family brought the tooth to the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland, where the curator of palaeontology, Stephen Godfrey, examined it.

After analysing the tooth, he discovered that it was from a shark species known as an Otodus megalodon. He also concluded that the tooth was most likely 15 million years old and that the shark it belonged to was 45 to 50 feet long.

“Megalodon teeth are found on a fairly regular basis along Calvert Cliffs, however one that large is rare indeed,” Godfrey told the publication. “I was very happy for Molly because I have known for some time now that she is passionate about becoming a palaeontologist, and her find may well seal the deal.”

Alicia explained how her daughter spoke the discovery into existence, as Molly said she was “looking for a meg” while walking on the beach on Christmas Day.

The museum also posted about Molly’s discovery on their official Instagram page, and expressed how much they “loved” seeing her “treasure”. They also reassured followed that the nine-year-old will be keeping the tooth.

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During an interview with Newsweek, the mother noted that while it’s rare to find a tooth from a megalodon, the fact that Molly discovered it “wasn’t beginner’s luck”.

“I know there are people who have literally searched for decades to find something like this,” she said. “Molly is almost 10, so for her it’s been less than a decade of hunting, but it is definitely not beginner’s luck for her. I think she feels like all her searching finally paid off.”

While speaking to The Washington Post, Godfrey said that even though the tooth could be sold at a high price, he doubts that Molly would do that.

“Molly will never sell her find because the life-affirming value it holds is priceless,” he joked.

In addition to her new discovery, Sampson told The Washington Post that Molly has other teeth from many different shark species, including ones from sand tiger, great white, and mako.

However, according to her mother, Molly hasn’t taken the megalodon tooth “out much,” except to “her favourite cafe”.

The Independent has contacted Sampson for comment.