Deep Sea Megalodon Tooth Fossil Updates from the Experts
In summer 2022, our Corps of Exploration collected a geological sample over 10,000 feet (3,090 meters) deep while exploring a never-before-surveyed seamount ~150 miles south of Johnston Atoll. Retrieved by ROV Hercules and brought back onboard E/V Nautilus, the sample was sent to the University of Rhode Island’s Marine Geological Samples Laboratory, where scientists discovered it included a fossiled megalodon tooth covered in ferromanganese coating.
To learn more about this amazing find, OET’s Jamie Zaccaria connected with Dr. Nicolas Straube and Jürgen Pollerspöck, co-authors of a new study documenting this first in situ discovery of a fossil tooth of the megatooth shark Otodus (Megaselachus) megalodon from the deep sea in the Pacific Ocean. Commonly known as megalodon, this species was among the largest sharks ever to inhabit our planet but went extinct approximately 3.5 million years ago.
This research used data collected on E/V Nautilus expedition NA141 to the Johnston Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, which was funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration through the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute. Special thanks to the captain and crew of E/V Nautilus, the Nautilus Corps of Exploration, and all that supported the expedition from shore. E/V Nautilus is exploring unknown regions of the ocean seeking out new discoveries in biology, geology, and archaeology. Join us 24/7 for live video from the seafloor and to ask questions of our explorers currently aboard Nautilus: https://www.nautiluslive.org.
Johnston Atoll, one of the most isolated atolls in the world, is located in the central Pacific Ocean, between the Hawaiian Islands, the Line Islands, and the nation of Kiribati. Around this atoll, the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) was expanded in 2014 to protect the full 200 nautical mile perimeter of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) encompassing many unexplored seafloor features.