On Victoria’s Surf Coast, amateur fossil hunter Philip Mullaly is scanning the shore for signs of ancient life. Then the sunlight catches something jutting out from a nearby rock. And soon after Mullaly realizes that he has made an incredible discovery; he has uncovered the tooth of a beast that stalked Australian waters millions of years before the great white shark.
In 2015 Mullaly was visiting the beach at Jan Juc, a suburban town some 65 miles southwest of Melbourne, Victoria. The area is known for its fossil finds, so Mullaly was keeping his eyes peeled for any such relics. And, amazingly, his walk was interrupted when he found a huge tooth embedded in the coastal rock.
“I was walking along the beach looking for fossils, turned and saw this shining glint in a boulder and saw a quarter of the tooth exposed,” Mullaly explained in a video published by Museums Victoria in August 2018. “I was immediately excited. It was just perfect, and I knew it was an important find that needed to be shared with people.”