Prince George's Giant Shark Tooth Causes a Bit of an Outcry

Malta seems like it might want the fossil back
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2020 3:40 AM CDT
Prince George's Giant Shark Tooth Causes a Bit of a Controversy
In this Sept. 24, 2020 photo, Prince William and Kate react with David Attenborough with their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, in the gardens of Kensington Palace in London.   (Kensington Palace via AP)

Naturalist David Attenborough recently screened his new environmental documentary at Kensington Palace with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and brought along quite a treasure for their eldest son: a giant prehistoric shark tooth. But it turns out 7-year-old Prince George may have to give it up, the Guardian reports. Attenborough found the fossil on vacation in Malta more than half a century ago, but after photos of the tiny British royal enjoying his new gift were made public, Malta, which was a British colony until 1964, raised its eyebrows.

The archipelago's culture minister said he would investigate whether the tooth, which was found embedded in soft yellow limestone and is believed to be around 23 million years old, should be returned to Malta. "There are some artifacts that are important to Maltese natural heritage and which ended up abroad and deserve to be retrieved," he told the Times of Malta. "We rightly give a lot of attention to historical and artistic artifacts. However, it is not always the case with our natural history. I am determined to direct a change in this attitude." However, he later walked that back a bit, and it appears the matter may be dropped. The fossilized tooth is thought to have belonged to a Carcharocles megalodon; the species grew up to 52 feet long. (Attenborough just smashed an Instagram record.)

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