Missy Tracewell posted a photo of the tooth on Facebook on Oct. 30, which she found during a recent trip to Hunting Island in South Carolina. Darkened over time and covering much of her hand, she said it was the biggest she’s ever found.
“It’s beautiful,” she told South Carolina’s The State newspaper.
Users on social media were quick to speculate what type of creature could have produced the massive tooth.
“I would hate to meet face to face the mouth that it came out of. It had to be a big shark,” one user wrote.
“Man I’m SO jealous!! I’m here at hunting Island right now and I’ve found about 48 smaller teeth so far but I’ve never found any that big. I’m so so so jealous,” another replied.
Some, including Tracewell, suggested that the tooth belonged to a megalodon, an extinct species of shark that roamed the depths millions of years ago. They were the largest shark to ever live at nearly 60 feet in length.
Teeth of the monster of the deep that have been found are typically larger than a human hand, researchers have said. In recent memory, megalodon teeth have been found in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Mexico.
In fact, the word megalodon, or otodus megalodon, means “big tooth.”
In Tracewell’s case, she found the former pearly white mostly buried, in a water-filled hole just yards from the shoreline.
“I pick it up, and I stand up, and I’m so shocked that I have it in my hand … that I dropped it on the sand,” she told the paper. “I’m screaming, and I’m just like a 5-year-old, jumping up and down and I was crying, ‘I cannot believe this. Oh my God I just found a megalodon tooth.’”
While many believe it did belong to a megalodon, Tracewell told The State that she had yet to share her find with an expert for confirmation — leaving the mystery unsolved — for now.
Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia contributed to this report