Bargain 1.47" Megalodon Tooth - Florida
These mega-tooth sharks were a giant and more robust version of the great white. They had 276 teeth in 5 rows and like todays sharks shed their teeth throughout their lifetime. The largest Megalodon teeth on record reached a staggering 7.5 inches (190mm). Compare this to the largest great whites whose teeth top out around 3 inches long. Wow.
Their teeth were bone crunching and flesh cutting tools which evolved for grasping powerful prey such as Baleen whales. Fossil evidence supports that Megalodon focused its attack on the hard bony parts of its prey, such as rib cages, flippers, shoulders, and spines- effectively disabling large whales and harming major organs such as the heart and lungs. This strategy explains the thick, robust teeth of the Megalodon.
Megalodon has a cosmopolitan (global) distribution and its giant teeth can be found in deposits throughout the world. Some are collected on land in phosphate deposits while many are collected from rivers and coastlines after eroding out of the rocks. This contributes to the water worn, polished appearance to many teeth.
The standard measure for meg teeth is slant height, or the longest edge of the tooth. Adult Megalodon teeth were typically in the 4-5 inch range, with teeth over 6 inches being rare and representing super-sized individuals. There have only been a handful of teeth ever found over seven inches.
No one knows for sure why the Megalodon went extinct 2.6 Million years ago, but the cooling of the climate and gradual disappearance of many of the large whales it relied on for food are suspects.