A woman and her stepdaughter exploring along the Nechako River near Prince George, B.C., last week found something far more unique than colourful rocks.
Rachel Shill Cook and her 13-year-old stepdaughter, Addison Shill, were looking for agates when they pulled something different from the mud.
“Usually when it’s a nice day, we want to get out for a little bit and she’s really big into finding agates, so we decided to just take the opportunity to do it,” said Shill Cook.
The river was very low that day, allowing them to explore areas they wouldn’t normally see, she said.
Shill Cook said she saw something she thought was an agate but when she scooped it out of the mud, it looked like a fossilized tooth.
She asked her stepdaughter what she thought it might be.
“She says, `Well, I don’t know, it looks like a shark’s tooth, but way bigger,”’ said Shill Cook.
Shill Cook said they decided to post it on social media to see if anyone had any answers.
“Because my thought was actually that it wasn’t what I thought it was.”
The response was overwhelming — it was a tooth of a megalodon, an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 23 to 3.6 million years ago.
“Then I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me privately, but one woman was a paleontologist and she said, ‘Yeah, you 100 per cent have a megalodon tooth on your hands.”’
Shill Cook has since spoken with museums in Victoria and Tumbler Ridge, B.C., and the feedback she’s been given has been the same, that while megalodons were never in the area, the tooth most likely caught a ride on a glacier before ending up buried on the banks of the Nechako River.
While the fossil is currently sitting in a Tupperware container in her house, Shill Cook said she would like to eventually donate the tooth where it could be a benefit to science.
“I know that megalodon teeth, from what I’ve been reading on the internet, can be quite common in some places. But to find one here is incredibly rare.”
Shill Cook said it will be tough to top this experience the next time she and her stepdaughter are exploring the river.
“She told me it’s probably going to be pretty boring looking for agates now. The megalodon tooth kind of raises the bar on neat things to find at the river.”
— Hanna Peterson, THE CANADIAN PRESS