St. Mary's County waterman Stephen Rollins pulled up a fossil surprise in his oyster harvest. Photo courtesy of Rollins

Waterman Dredges Up Massive Meg Tooth with Oysters

It wasn’t the catch he was expecting. Earlier this month, a St. Mary’s County, Md. waterman was out dredging in the Chesapeake Bay and found something besides oysters.

It was an exceptionally large megalodon tooth in great condition, as the Calvert Marine Museum’s experts later confirmed. It came from the Bay bottom just off the southern end of Calvert Cliffs.

The waterman, Stephen Rollins, and his first mate Jeremiah Jordan made the discovery aboard the Undertaker Feb. 10, as Rollins’s wife Bambi posted to the WORKBOAT LIFE Facebook page. Bambi measured the tooth at 3.5 by 3.5 inches.

Bambi Rollins brought the tooth to Calvert Marine Museum (CMM), which has been at the center of multiple major fossil discoveries in the past few months.

Dr. Stephen Godfrey, curator of paleontology at CMM, admired the find. “It is a lovely tooth… the cutting edges are in great shape.” (Bambi described the tooth as “still sharp!”).

It’s more rare to find a megalodon tooth in the open Bay than it is to find it in the sand along the cliffs, Dr. Godfrey says.

But he does want to clarify one thing: “Both watermen and scuba divers find meg teeth in the Bay. That’s not to say that meg is still living out there.”

If the recent discovery of a large megalodon tooth near Calvert Cliffs sounds awfully familiar, that’s because it was only two months ago that nine-year-old Molly Sampson found a similar one wading along the beach on Christmas morning.

Dr. Godfrey believes the tooth Rollins dredged up may be a bit longer than the one Molly Sampson found. Neither is the largest ever found in the Calvert Cliffs area, but they’re both significant.

If Rollins were to try and sell his specimen, he could see a large range in price. Dr. Godfrey says some meg teeth go for under $50 (usually those which are broken or in poor condition) while others that are very large and in perfect condition can sell for thousands.

CMM has an entire megalodon jaw on display, with recently rebuilt (reproduction) chompers to reflect the latest science about how this prehistoric shark’s mega-teeth went together.

If you want to try your hand at hunting for shark teeth at Calvert Cliffs, follow Molly’s tips for amateur fossil finders here.

-Meg Walburn Viviano