A girl found an enormous 5-inch megalodon tooth on a Maryland beach on Christmas Day. The 9-year-old, named Molly, had been out searching for fossils along Calvert Beach in the morning when she made the discovery.
Otodus megalodon was a giant shark species that is thought to have evolved around 20 million years ago. It swam in the world's oceans for 13 million years before becoming extinct.
The species is believed to be one of the largest and most powerful predators to have ever lived, and scientists think it could have grown up to 50 to 60 feet long. The great white shark is a very close relative of the megalodon.
Molly's mother, Alicia, told Newsweek: "For Christmas this year, Molly's only request was for insulated chest waders because she hadn't been able to go out far looking for fossils since it got cold.
"My husband has always told her that winter is the best time of year to find them. As soon as we finished breakfast, Molly, Natalie—Molly's sister—and my husband all suited up and headed to the cliffs."
As Molly left, she told her mother: "I'm going to look for a meg!"
The girl was wading in knee-deep water and searching the sand when she spotted the huge tooth. She then dove into the water and grabbed it.
"Thirty minutes after they left, my husband sent me that picture of her in the water holding that tooth. I thought they were playing a joke on me," Alicia said.
At 5 inches, the tooth is the biggest ever found in Calvert County.
That makes Georgia's 4 1/2 inch tooth from May 2022 even seem more impressive.
Congratulations Molly! You've either peaked early, or have a great career ahead a paleontologist.