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A giant megalodon tooth found 10,000ft underwater suggests it dominated oceans far wider than previously thought.
The fossil is suspected to belong to the fiercest marine predator that have ever lived has been discovered on the ocean floor in the central Pacific, stunning the scientists who retrieved it.
University of Rhode Island professors of oceanography, Katie Kelley and Rebecca Robinson are running tests on the tooth following an Ocean Exploration Trust expedition.
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The organisation uploaded to Facebook a photo of the find on Wednesday (October 5) after a trip to the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, which stretches over 495,000 square miles.
On the Trusts's Nautilus Live Facebook page, the captioned snaps of the fossil: "Awesome find alert! Did you know ferromanganese coating can form inside and around #sharkteeth?
"While examining nodule samples for our expedition to #JohnstonAtoll with Pacific Islands: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, researchers discovered this massive #shark tooth!
"#ROVHercules scooped this from the #oceanfloor at 3,089 meters deep on an unnamed seamount within the #PacificRemoteIslandsMarineNationalMonument. We believe it belonged to the infamous extinct #megalodon, but only time (and further lab analysis) will tell!"
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The post continued: "The expeditions on Nautilus are only the beginning of exploration as samples are processed and analyzed for years after the ship returns to port.
"Shout out to Dr. Katie Kelley and Dr. Rebecca Robinson at the University of Rhode Island Marine Geological Samples Laboratory who spotted this #fossil after removing the rocky coating for analysis and who will be researching its identification."
Teeth the size of an adult's palm have previously been found on the United States' west and east coasts as well as further south off Peru but never before way out in the Pacific.
Paleobiology researcher, Jack Cooper, from Swansea University told Newsweek: "To my knowledge, this is the first tooth found in this area—or at least the first one publicly documented. If that's true, then this extends megalodon's range even further than originally thought."
"What's particularly interesting about this location to me is how remote and way out in the ocean it is, compared to the generally coastal habitats megalodon teeth are found in. This suggests to me that the shark might have been migrating across the ocean when it lost that tooth."
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