A fossil hunter searching a South Carolina construction site recently unearthed a massive, ancient shark tooth.
Matthew Basak, a Georgia man, said he spotted a large tooth sticking out of the side of a drainage ditch that had been dug at the site in Summerville.
Then he wandered down for a closer look.
But after pulling that prehistoric tooth free from the mud and clay, Basak said he found another one buried beneath — and much larger than any he’d ever seen before.
“I really wanted to scream,” Basak told McClatchy News about the discovery, which left him struggling to keep his composure as his fellow tooth-hunting friends explored around him.
When Basak finally revealed what he found, he said his friends were speechless.
“This is the thing I’ve been hunting my whole life now,” he said.
Of the over 250 megalodon teeth he’s added to his collection over the years, Basak said this find tops them all.
“It’s a monster in person,” he said. “It’s bigger than my hand, and I have the biggest hands.”
According to Basak, the ancient tooth measures 6.45 inches long, and weighs three pounds.
The unofficial record for longest megalodon tooth found in South Carolina is 6.5 inches, McClatchy News previously reported. That tooth sold at an auction in 2019 for about $2,600 — five times the price auctioneers expected it would sell for.
Besides some minor damage along a portion of the side, Basak said the tooth is in great condition, and believes it to be “museum grade.”
“It has a nick on it, but it was set that way in the layer,” he said. “Sharks aren’t perfect, they all ate.”
And megalodons would have eaten a lot — roughly 2,500 pounds of food every day, according to Encyclopedia Brittanica.
The prehistoric shark species, which died out 3.6 million years ago, was one of the largest predators that ever lived, McClatchy News reported.
They could grow up to 60 feet in length, roughly three times the size of a great white shark.
Basak says he isn’t sure yet what he’ll do with the tooth, but said it’s hard to imagine parting ways with it.
“It was super exciting,” he said, reflecting on the hunt. “The shark gods were with me.”