Remarkable Young Girl Makes Once in a Lifetime Discovery

Molly Sampson, an aspiring nine-year-old paleontologist, got the surprise of a lifetime on Christmas Day when she found an enormous 5-inch fossilized shark tooth during a beach walk in Chesapeake Bay. The family took the tooth to the Calvert Marine Museum, and it was confirmed as belonging to Otodus megalodon, a giant species of prehistoric shark that once roamed the oceans up to 3.6 million years ago.

The impressive find has delighted Molly’s parents and the museum alike; according to Stephen Godfrey, curator of paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum, “People should not get the impression that teeth like this one are common along Calvert Cliffs.” He added that “Her find is wonderful because she has an interest in paleontology and this will propel her and others her age to explore the sciences!”

Molly’s dad Bruce had been fossil hunting since he was a kid, dreaming of finding a giant tooth. Now his daughter has made that dream come true – and still gets to keep it for herself. Her mother Tammy said: “She has found over 400 teeth in her 9 years, ranging from teeny tiny to an inch or two — and now with this one, which is 5 inches…she has always wanted to find a ‘Meg,’ but for whatever reason, she spoke it into existence on Christmas morning.”

Molly’s incredible discovery puts into perspective just how powerful these creatures were. According to research published last year in Nature Communications, megalodons were able to cruise at faster absolute speeds than any shark species today, reaching as much as 35 kilometers per hour – with jaws strong enough to bite through anything they encountered in their travels across the ocean. This makes Molly’s unique find all-the-more special; it is truly a once in a lifetime kind of find.

In addition to becoming an expert in fossils – both shark teeth specifically and more generally – Molly also loves playing violin and may even consider teaching music professionally when she grows up. Her mother Tammy said: “She is really fascinated by them [fossils]. She is also very good at the violin and said she may want to teach violin like I do for a living”.


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