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State Secret Saturday: NC’s State Fossil

Megalodon Tooth From North Carolina

2013 is drawing to a close, but there’s still time for some great fossils. I’m visiting my family in North Carolina for the holidays, and I recently learned that North Carolina has a new state fossil as of this year*!

The new North Carolina state fossil is a megalodon shark tooth, which can apparently be found on the beaches of North Carolina. I never found one when I visited the beach as a kid, but maybe I wasn’t looking in the right place. You’ve heard of megalodons before — they were the subject of an utterly fake Discovery Channel ‘documentary’ earlier this year. Megalodons were awesomely giant sharks with up to 276 of their razor sharp 6-inch-long teeth in their jaws at any time, but they don’t still exist today.

Eighth graders in Newport, North Carolina came up with the idea as part of a science project. Their teacher then contacted the representative of their district, and the rest is history.

I loved reading the part of the bill that pertains to why megalodon teeth should be the state fossil. Apparently, it’s because the Megalodon was really big, with really big teeth. From the bill that made it into law:

Excerpt from Session Law 2013-189, House Bill 830:

Whereas, the megalodon shark is an extinct shark species that lived over 1.5 million years ago; and
Whereas, the megalodon shark may have reached over 40 feet in length and weighed up to 100 tons; and
Whereas, the megalodon shark had serrated, heart‑shaped teeth that may have grown to over seven inches in length; and
Whereas, fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark have been found in North Carolina and throughout the world…

§ 145-41.  State fossil.
The fossilized teeth of the megalodon shark is adopted as the official fossil of the State of North Carolina.

*Along with a new state art medium, state folk art, and a state marsupial** among others. NC General Assembly, while I enjoy state symbols a lot, you have better things to do with your time <glares at Raleigh>.

**It’s a possum. You know, that magnificent beast which is annually dropped (gently) from a pole at New Years in Brassville, North Carolina.

I…I don’t understand this state sometimes.