Record-sized megalodon tooth from SC tops auction prediction. Here’s what it sold for

Record-sized megalodon tooth from SC tops auction prediction. Here’s what it sold for
Image of the 6.5 inch Megalodon shark tooth that sold at auction Thursday in Florida. It was found in South Carolina. (Source: Liveauctioneers Screenshot)

SOUTH CAROLINA (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - Prehistoric megalodon shark teeth are found frequently in South Carolina’s rivers, but a unique example believed to be the biggest on record sold for five times the predicted price Thursday at auction.

The 6.5 inch serrated tooth was expected to sell for no less than $450, according to LiveActioneers.com. But feverish bidders took the price from $110 to nearly $2,600, including fees.

The name of the winning bidder was not released, but he or she now owns what is likely the biggest known megalodon tooth, based on a 2019 report by Kenshu Shimada, a professor of paleobiology at DePaul University in Chicago.

Shimada’s study, which focused on clarifying the size of the megalodon, says the “tallest known tooth” is 6.4 inches and it’s on display in the Evolving Planet exhibition at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

Some larger might exist in private collections, he writes, but they aren’t reliable enough to “count as scientific data.”

That means the 6.5-inch tooth may not either, unless it was bought by a museum or researchers.

Examples of bigger meg teeth said to be in private collections include a 7.48 inch tooth reportedly found in Peru, and a 6.7 inch tooth from the Morgan River near Beaufort, S.C., according to Fossilera.com.

Affiliated Auctions in Tallahassee, Florida, was selling the 6.5-inch tooth for an owner, who was not identified, and the description said only that it is remarkably intact and “South Carolina found.”

Where exactly it was found in the state was not revealed, but experts say S.C. is “home to the best fossil hunting opportunities in the South East” due largely to the fact it was sea floor in ancient times.

Megalodon are considered “one of the largest predators to have ever lived”: A gigantic apex predator that shows up in the fossil record 20 million years ago and survived until 3.6 million years ago, according to The Natural History Museum.

The massive sharks averaged 6 feet tall and 50 feet long, though rare examples could have been in the 60-foot range, according to Shimada’s study, released in September.

“It is always fascinating to think how large the megatooth shark could have grown, but regardless, my research strongly suggests that individuals ... exceeding 15 meters (49 feet) in length must have been exceptionally rare,” Shimada said in his report.

Coincidentally, Shimada says he is aware that some merchants are using his data “for monetization of Megalodon teeth” and he’s not “thrilled” about it.

However, Shimada “is thrilled by the general public’s great interest into the prehistoric shark,” which became his obsession after finding a megalodon tooth at a fossil site when he was age 13.