Jacob Danner has searched a Florida beach for washed-up items almost every sunrise for the past year.
But three weeks ago, Danner, an art curator, found his first megalodon tooth — 3 inches long, and in good condition. Danner was ecstatic.
Then, on the heels of Tropical Storm Elsa on Thursday morning, he found another, a 4-inch-long tooth.
“It makes you want to spend your whole day hunting, thinking that more must be out there,” said Danner, who found both teeth at Fernandina Beach.
Megalodon teeth are prized items for amateur collectors competing to get the largest and most pristine they can find. But they aren’t of huge scientific interest because thousands wash ashore in the Southeast, said Hans Sues, the senior scientist for the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Megalodon swam across the world’s oceans 3.6 million to 20 million years ago before going extinct. They were the largest shark ever to have lived, reaching up to 60 feet, and had several rows of teeth lining their jaws, according to the Smithsonian’s website.
“The size of the teeth scales to total body length in present-day sharks,” Sues said. “They then can use this ratio to estimate the total length of a ‘Meg.’”
During storms like Elsa, large ocean waves “scoop up a lot of seafloor sediment in shallow water and then deposit it on beaches, providing a feast for beachcombers,” Sues added.
A 5-year-old vacationing in North Myrtle Beach also discovered a large megalodon tooth, according to CNN affiliate WBTV.
Danner said he’s collected plenty of shark teeth during his time here, but finding the megalodon teeth brought out the kid inside him.
“I’m turning it over every which way and holding it in my hand, just imagining the millions of years of history that I’m just holding right there,” Danner said.
Danner said he hopes his luck sticks around long enough to find a gold coin from a shipwreck next.