SCOUTING IT OUT
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH is known in the diving industry as having the largest supply of megalodon teeth in the world, and divers
come from across the country. Local charter companies scout out high-volume locations, then transport divers anywhere from
26 to 43 miles offshore — a trip that takes up to 2.5 hours.
“They are in very specific locations where they have collected in large numbers and finding those spots is the hard part. It
involves a lot of exploring and spot checking,” says Chris Slog who owns Wrightsville Beach Diving with Brett Garner.
A two-day charter trip in May resulted in finding some promising new areas with plenty of teeth.
“We’ve mapped out a lot of the bottom so we have a good idea where the teeth should be, but the only way to find out is get in the water and
search the bottom,” says Slog.
“Disneyland” is what Aquatic Safaris Scuba Center owners Paul Gregory and Michael Winfield have named a fossil ledge spot 43 miles out
and 105 feet deep where they scored big one charter trip.
“We just happened to find a spot that was loaded with big, huge teeth,” says Gregory. “We named it Disneyland because of the ledge itself,
the amount of fish life, the lobster, the fish; it’s just a beautiful, beautiful place to dive.”
Above, left to right: A diver with Aquatic Safaris finds a meg tooth almost as large as his hand. Chris Slog and others use a mesh bag to collect
the teeth. A Wrightsville Beach Diving charter group gears up to dive off the coast of Wrightsville Beach. Opposite: Megalodon teeth, like these
collected by Slog and Brett Garner, are priced based on size and the quality of the serrations, enamel, bourlette and root.
TO GREAT DEPTHS
AT DEPTHS ranging from 85 to 105 feet, divers have roughly 20 to 30 minutes
of safe bottom time to search the fossil layers of the seafloor and gather the
teeth in a mesh bag.
“They always tell you, ‘Don’t look at it underwater’ because you don’t have
much time depending how deep you are,” says Hammond recalling the day he found
his 6-inch tooth. “When I got to the surface I knew exactly what tooth I wanted to look
If a megalodon tooth is 6 inches or more, has serrations, good enamel, a preserved
bourlette (a V-shaped thinner enameled band where the crown meets the root) and an
intact root, it can be worth anywhere from $1,000-4,000. This has created quite the busi-ness
for many divers who list the teeth they find on eBay and other online stores.
“Years ago, people would just go out with us and find teeth for fun and now it’s kind
of developed more into selling teeth commercial-wise,” says Winfield.
It’s estimated every inch of a megalodon tooth equals 10 feet in length of the shark it
came from. Any tooth over 6 inches is considered a prize tooth that likely came from a
60-foot or bigger shark. To put in perspective, 63 feet is the length of a bowling lane.
“One thing we know for sure, if those megalodon sharks were still roaming our ocean
there would be no such thing as scuba diving,” laughs Gregory.
26 july 2021
“MEGALODON SHARKS ruled
the seas for more than
20 million years before
going extinct about 2 million
years ago,” says Hap Fatzinger, director of the
North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
“The sharks frequented waters that covered
present day North Carolina as far inland as
where modern-day Interstate 95 now runs.”
Megalodons were the largest sharks to ever
exist, three times the length of the largest
recorded great white shark. According to
the Natural History Museum in London, meg-alodons
had 276 serrated teeth designed
for ripping flesh. They ate things like whales
with a bite force between 108,514 and 182,201
newtons. Humans have a bite force of around
COURTESY OF AQUATIC SAFARIS
COURTESY OF WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH DIVING
COURTESY OF WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH DIVING