Discover the Largest Megalodon Tooth Ever Found

Written by Janet F. Murray
Published: September 22, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Mark Kostich
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The Megalodon is a prehistoric shark that lived approximately 2.6 million years ago. It is the largest predator scientists have ever discovered, with a maximum length of 60 feet and a weight of up to 100 tons. As you can imagine, these fearsome creatures had enormous teeth, but let’s discover the largest Megalodon tooth ever found. Between paleontologists unearthing fossils of this shark all over the world, including in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia, one has to stand out from another. Besides, the Megalodon is a popular topic of interest. There have been several books and films, including the 2018 film “The Meg,” which features this prehistoric shark. But which is the largest? Let’s find out!

Megalodon tooth
The largest Megalodon tooth measures 7.48 Inches and comes from the Ocucaje desert in Peru.

Nico Ott/Shutterstock.com

Megalodon – Named for Its Large Teeth

The word, Megalodon, means ‘big tooth,’ a name that aptly describes this massive shark with its enormous teeth. Megalodon teeth grew up to 7 inches long and are some of the most gigantic teeth of any known animal. To gain some perspective on the massive size of these teeth, we make a quick comparison of its tooth and the great white shark. Great white shark teeth only measure about 2 inches long, making them look like child’s toys in comparison to the large teeth of the Megalodon.

Researchers and explorers infrequently find Megalodon teeth in their fossilized form, which can tell us a lot about this massive creature’s size, diet, and habits. Additionally, people have discovered Megalodon teeth in every ocean, providing scientists with a wealth of information about this prehistoric predator.

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Megalodon tooth
Comparison of fossilized Megalodon (7 inches) and Great White Shark teeth (2 inches).

Mark_Kostich/Shutterstock.com

Big Teeth, Big Food

So now we have some background about this prehistoric shark living in the Cenozoic Era; let’s learn a little more. Those gigantic, iconic teeth are a thing out of nightmares. But why did the Megalodon have such enormous teeth? The Megalodon’s large size meant it needed to eat a lot of food to survive. And its enormous teeth were the perfect weapon for hunting large prey. Researchers believe Megalodon fed primarily on whales, which would have provided them with a tremendous amount of food. In addition, Megalodon’s teeth were so big and powerful that they could easily crush the bones of their prey.

Megalodon jaws
Full jaws of Carcharodon Megalodon, the largest shark to have ever lived on Earth.

Igor Kovalchuk/Shutterstock.com

You Wouldn’t Want To Be at the End of That Bite

With its massive teeth, the Megalodon had a potent bite force, estimated up to 250 times that of the great white shark. Scientists calculate that its jaw measured 9 x 11 feet, and its bite force was 40,000 pounds per square inch. Scientists also believe this shark was an apex predator, meaning it was at the top of the food chain. It would have had no natural predators and could have eaten just about anything it wanted. Megalodon was the most powerful sea creature that ever lived.

The Largest Megalodon Tooth – 7.48 Inches

The Ocucaje desert in Peru is home to the biggest Megalodon tooth ever measured. Due to the presence of the Miocene-era Pisco Formation, one of the best areas in the world to find Megalodon teeth is the desert. The formation is well-known for its extraordinarily well-preserved ocean fossils, including those of whales and dolphins, and its substantial Megalodon teeth in outstanding condition.

After the discovery of a massive tooth in the region, paleontologist Craig Sundell of the University of Kansas examined it. He concluded that the 7.48-inch tooth was real. However, Sundell did note that the tooth had a crack. He surmised the break may have occurred during excavation. Despite the damage, his final evaluation was that the glue repairs did not impact the overall size of the tooth.

This massive tooth now sits in a private collection whose owner prefers to remain anonymous. But, thanks to Sundell’s verification, we know this tooth is the real deal – and an incredible find!

Megalodon Teeth - Megalodon Shark Teeth
Scientists calculate that Megalodon’s jaw measured 9 x 11 feet, and its bite force was 40,000 pounds per square inch.

iStock.com/Mark Kostich

A Close Second – 7.25 Inches

South Carolina is well-known for its many rivers. Among avid divers and collectors, it is also renowned for the Megalodon teeth in those waterways. For example, the Cooper River is quite a famous site for Megalodon tooth hunting, thanks to the many fossil-bearing layers that it passes through. However, the river can also be perilous, with strong currents and poor visibility. Yet, despite the risks, many people are drawn to this river searching for Megalodon teeth. One such person was Vito Bertucci, who discovered the second largest known Megalodon tooth in the Cooper River. The tooth is now in Dr. Gordon Hubbell’s collection, a connoisseur of the most well-preserved and enormous selection of fossil shark teeth.

Megalodon teeth rows
Not only did Megalodons have huge teeth, they also had several rows of these razor-sharp weapons in their mouths.

It’s a Tie – 7.25 Inches

In 1991, Pete Larson and his team from the South Dakota Black Hills Institute of Geological Research discovered a Megalodon tooth in Peru, the same size as Vito Bertucci’s find. This tooth measures an impressive 7.25, making it one of the largest teeth ever found. However, there is some dispute about the accurate size of this tooth due to repairs after being found broken. Some experts believe that the tooth’s root has been artificially elongated, resulting in it being unnaturally long. However, whether or not the restoration work increased the tooth’s length, it is still an enormous and impressive specimen.

Finding Mega Teeth is Child’s Play

When six-year-old Sammy Shelton found a four-inch-long tooth on Bawdsey beach in Suffolk in May 2022, he had no idea that he was holding a piece of history in his hands. The tooth belonged to a Megalodon, the largest shark that ever lived and is estimated to be 20 million years old. Expert Professor Ben Garrod confirmed Sammy’s discovery, and the boy is now sleeping with the tooth by his bedside. For Sammy and his family, the find is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hold a piece of prehistory in their hands. And who knows – maybe more Megalodon teeth are waiting to be discovered on Bawdsey beach.

Next Up – The Largest Discoveries

Megalodon Teeth - Megalodon Shark Teeth

iStock.com/Mark Kostich
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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with more than eight years of content creation experience. My content writing covers diverse genres, and I have a business degree. I am also the proud author of my memoir, My Sub-Lyme Life. This work details the effects of living with undiagnosed infections like rickettsia (like Lyme). By sharing this story, I wish to give others hope and courage in overcoming their life challenges. In my downtime, I value spending time with friends and family.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How big is the biggest Megalodon tooth ever found?

The Ocucaje desert in Peru is home to the biggest Megalodon tooth ever measured, 7.48 inches. Due to the presence of the Miocene-era Pisco Formation, one of the best areas in the world to find Megalodon teeth is the desert.

What was Magalodon's size?

The Megalodon is a prehistoric shark that lived approximately 2.6 million years ago. It is the largest predator scientists have ever discovered, with a maximum length of 60 feet and a weight of up to 100 tons.

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