Prehistoric jaws tooth found

YOUNG beachcomber Luke Logansmith today has a find to really get his teeth into – after picking up a fossil from one of the largest ever predators to swim in our seas.

YOUNG beachcomber Luke Logansmith today has a find to really get his teeth into – after picking up a fossil from one of the largest ever predators to swim in our seas.

At up to 70ft long, the enormous Carcharodon megalodon shark was the real-life Jaws, and lived some 30 million years ago in the area where Felixstowe now stands.

Luke, 12, of Meadowlands, Kirton, was playing on the beach and sorting through pebbles near the pier when he found a fossilised tooth from the great creature.

Thinking it was just a shark's tooth, he took it to his school, Orwell High, where teachers felt that it could be older and more unusual.


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He then took it to Ipswich Museum where staff identified it as coming from the giant 20-ton megalodon – thought to be an ancestor of the great white shark – though at two-and-a-half inches long is probably one of its smaller teeth.

Luke's mum Ann Proctor said: "He was thrilled to find something so unusual.

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"He always likes looking and sorting through the stones when we are walking along the beach and has found several quite nice pebbles over the years but nothing like this before.

"It is usually a case of thinking wouldn't it be great to find something special, but knowing in our hearts that we probably won't – until now."

Luke, one of eight children, is keeping the tooth as a souvenir and hopes to add to his collection.

Millions of years ago Suffolk would have been completely covered by seas. As recent as two million years ago Ipswich is believed to have stood on a great bay with reefs where the Felixstowe peninsula is today.

There was then a period when the climate changed dramatically and the county was joined to Europe by great forests, and then around 8,500 years ago the North Sea broke through and Britain became an island.

David Lampard, keeper of natural sciences at Ipswich Museum, said the

Carcharodon megalodon would have lived between 30 and 50 million years ago and is believed to have been an ancestor of the great white shark, though more than twice its size.

Its largest teeth would have been seven to eight inches, and those which have been found occasionally on beaches in the past have been weathered and worn by the sea and being smashed against pebbles.

Some megalodon fossil teeth found in chalk in America have been amazingly well preserved, still with a razor edge.

The creatures fossils can be found in the London Clay rocks found in Felixstowe's cliffs and seabed, and also upriver in both the Deben and the Orwell, deposits which are susceptible to erosion.

"The chance of finding one is quite random, though some people do claim to know where you are more likely to find one," he said.

n Have you found anything unusual on Felixstowe beach? Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Evening Star, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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