9-year-old Molly Sampson has a passion for fossil hunting. Her hobby recently led her to make a rare discovery on the shores of Maryland, where she found a tooth belonging to the megalodon, a shark species that lived millions of years ago. The fossil’s size surprised experts, and it’s just one of the several similar specimens that the young archaeology enthusiast has in her collection.
Molly and her 17-year-old sister Natalie share a love for fossil hunting, with Molly expressing her desire to become a paleontologist in the future. Last year, for Christmas, the sisters requested waders to better pursue their hobby.
On Christmas morning, the sisters and their father went to Calvert Cliffs Park to search for fossils, and it was there that Molly made her discovery. She found a fossilized tooth that was larger than her hand. As with previous finds, the family took the specimen to the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons for further examination. Paleontologist Stephen Godfrey, who has been evaluating the fossils found by the girls for years, was impressed by Molly’s latest discovery. He confirmed that the tooth belonged to the megalodon, a prehistoric shark that lived around 15 million years ago and measured 13-15 meters in length.
The megalodon, or Otodus megalodon or Carcharocles megalodon, was a species of shark that lived between 23 and 3 million years ago. It was the largest known predatory fish and existed in all oceans except those surrounding Antarctica. According to scientists, megalodons could reach up to 16 meters in length and weigh up to 60 tons.
“Teeth of this size are really rare,” said Godfrey, who added that while megalodon teeth are found regularly along Calvert Cliffs, ones of this size are truly rare. The discovery is a testament to Molly’s passion and dedication to fossil hunting at such a young age. It’s clear that her hobby has led to not just personal joy and satisfaction but also valuable contributions to the field of paleontology.