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12 August 2018, 04:57 | Edward Lowe
The shark was about twice the length of a normal great white shark.
Most of the teeth belonged to Carcharocles angustidens, but in addition, they found something even more surprising - several teeth of a smaller shark, the sixgill shark (genus Hexanchus).
"On that particular day at that particular time, Phil Mullaly was the right man for the job on that beach on the southern coast of Australia". The site is a veritable fossil hotspot, as noted by Phys.org, and it once again lived up to its reputation.
The citizen scientist ended up pulling a 2.7-inch-long (7 centimeters) out of the boulder and took it to Museums Victoria for authentication.
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"These teeth are of global significance, as they represent one of just three associated groupings of Carcharocles angustidens teeth in the world, and the very first set ever to be discovered in Australia", stated Dr. Erich Fitzgerald, a Senior Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology.
He contacted Erich Fitzgerald, a paleontologist at the Museums Victoria in Melbourne, which announced the find on Thursday.
The shark, which stalked Australia's oceans around 25 million years ago, feasting on small whales and penguins, could grow more than nine metres long, nearly twice the length of today's great white shark.
This exciting discovery is extremely significant in multiple respects. This makes the new find the very first evidence that Carcharocles angustidens once populated Australian waters, notes Cosmos Magazine.
Among the treasure trove of megashark teeth, the team also found prehistoric teeth belonging to a sixgill shark, which is a bottom-feeding scavenger that still swims off the coasts of Australia today.
Fitzgerald suspected they came from one individual shark and there might be more entombed in the rock.
"If you think about how long we've been looking for fossils around the world as a civilization-which is maybe 200 years-in (that time) we have found just three (sets of) fossils of this kind on the entire planet, and this most recent find from Australia is one of those three", Fitzgerald told CNN.
As he explained, sharks have quickly regenerating teeth, which regularly replace older ones.
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