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megalodon tooth

Science

9-year-old finds rare, prehistoric megalodon tooth the size of her hand in Maryland waters

'I'm looking for a meg!' Molly declared on her way to the bay. Then miraculously, she found one.

Photos courtesy of Alicia Sampson

Molly Sampson found a 5-inch megalodon tooth on Christmas morning.

Nine-year-old Molly Sampson has been searching for teeth in the water since before she could walk. In her young life, she's found more than 400 shark teeth, some so tiny it takes a magnifying glass to identify them, and the largest measuring an inch or two—until now.

Molly's father, Bruce, grew up on the bay in Calvert County, Maryland, and has been hunting fossils at Scientists Cliffs since he was a small child. Bruce has dreamed for decades of finding a "meg"—a large tooth from a megalodon, a massive prehistoric shark longer than a bus, which scientists estimate could have eaten a killer whale in five bites.

Sometimes our dreams end up coming true through our children—and that's just what happened when the Sampson family went fossil hunting on Christmas Day, 2022.

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