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A 9-year-old girl discovers a megalodon tooth in Maryland


Molly Sampson, a fourth grader from Prince Frederick, Maryland, made the find of a lifetime on Christmas morning: a massive 5-inch tooth from a prehistoric megalodon.

A 9-year-old girl, who dreams of being a paleontologist, found the find of her life on Christmas morning: a massive 5-inch tooth from a prehistoric megalodon.

Molly Sampson, a fourth-grader from Prince Frederick, Maryland, made the amazing find on Calvert Beach.

Molly told CNN that she has spent years exploring Maryland beaches for shark teeth, inspired by her father's love of fossils.

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"They're great because they're so old," he said.

Molly's mother, Alicia Sampson, added that her daughter loves to explore outdoors.

"She likes to hunt for treasure," she explained.

Maryland's Calvert Cliffs State Park is known as a hotspot for fossil finding, added Alicia Sampson.

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For Christmas, Molly asked her parents for special boots so she could search for shark teeth and other fossils in the Chesapeake Bay.

Outfitted in her new gear, she set off at 9:30 am to search for the remains of ancient predators.

"I saw something big and it looked like a shark tooth," he said.

"We were knee-deep in water."

She explained that she tried to grab the tooth with a sifting tool, but it was too big.

She was "shocked" when she realized how big the tooth was.

She "she was very excited and surprised."

Molly Sampson, 9, with her 5-inch megalodon tooth that is 15 million years old.Alicia Sampson

The Sampsons took their exciting find to the Calvert Marine Museum, where paleontology curator Stephen Godfrey confirmed their suspicions: It was indeed the tooth of a megalodon, the massive sharks that lived more than 23 million years ago.

Godfrey told CNN that there are typically only five or six megalodon teeth comparable in size to Molly's find at Calvert Cliffs.

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"There are people who can search their whole lives and never get a tooth the size that Molly found," he said.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime find."

Hobbyist fossil hunters typically find about 100 megalodon teeth at Calvert Cliffs each year, he added.

But most are much smaller than Molly's huge tooth.

The largest megalodon teeth ever found measure just over 7 inches.

The size of the piece indicates that this particular megalodon was between 45 and 50 feet long.

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Godfrey explained that millions of years ago, the waters of the Calvert Cliffs were home to whales and dolphins that would have served as abundant prey for megalodons.

Because sharks replace their teeth throughout their lives, and because teeth are made of tough enamel, they are "by far the most abundant vertebrate fossil."

Megalodons hold a particular fascination for humans because they served as Earth's "greatest predator" for millions of years, he said.

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Both Godfrey and Alicia Sampson said they hope Molly's find will help inspire other children, especially girls, to pursue their scientific interests.

"This will inspire people of all ages, including children, to follow their natural inclination into nature, art music, there are so many possibilities available," Godfrey said.

Alicia Sampson said children from all over the world have sent Molly letters sharing their excitement about her discovery.

She created an Instagram page to share her daughters' outdoor adventures.

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"We want to reach out to other kids and get them excited about exploring outdoors," he said.

"It's like a fairy tale story, because he's only nine, almost 10, and he found it on Christmas morning," she said.

Molly said that she wants to become a paleontologist when she grows up.

But for now, she's happy to focus on her next goal: finding more alligator teeth to add to her collection.

With information from



NBC Washington

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-01-15

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