A valuable tooth from the 2.5-million-year-old, largest shark that ever lived was stolen from a secret location.
The 4-inch-long tooth belonged to a Megalodon, and was taken from a remote, supposedly secret location at a World Heritage site in Australia, wildlife officials said.
The Megalodon, now extinct, was a fearsome predator back in its day, growing to lengths of as much as 60 feet and weighing around 37 tons, Newsweek reports. The fossilized tooth that has gone missing was estimated to be between two and two-and-a-half million years old.
Arvid Hogstrom, from Western Australia’s Parks and Wildlife Service, said,
It had quite defined features on it, so you could see the serrated edge of the shark’s tooth, it was probably one of the better specimens we knew of.
Hogstrom said that “very few people” were certain of the tooth’s location within the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area. This is a marine and land reserve measuring 604,500 hectares on Australia’s west coast, where a small portion of Megalodon remains are housed.
It is not something someone would have stumbled across and they have been required to put a bit of effort in to get it out of the rock as well,” Hogstrom said. “We presume an amateur collector [has taken it] or someone that just wants to have a fossil sitting on their mantelpiece.”
Authorities at the site were in the middle of trying to cover up the fossil by placing rocks over it, and were deciding on the best way to preserve it in the long run.
Hogstrom said, “But unfortunately, someone has beaten us to it. It is in such a remote location and we just don’t check the site every day, we are not exactly sure when it disappeared, but we got a report on Friday.”
The shark’s name is Greek for “big tooth,” as the creature’s teeth can grow up to seven inches long.