While most kids hope to get toys or gadgets for Christmas, a 9-year-old girl from Maryland named Molly Sampson only wished for one thing—insulated chest waders. This request may sound odd to most people, but her parents, aware of her passions, knew that this would allow her to look for her true Christmas treat–shark teeth, which she has been collecting since she was little. After breaking into her new outfit on Christmas Day, she took to the beach in Chesapeake Bay and told her parents, “I'm looking for Meg.” Little did she know that she would find just what she was looking for. She found a 5-inch tooth that once belonged to a megalodon, the largest shark to ever live, which roamed the seas more than 2.6 million years ago and is now extinct.
After spotting the tooth, which is larger than Molly's hand, the little girl dove into the water. Given her track record with shark teeth—she has collected about 400 pieces of all shapes and sizes—the future paleontologist now has a knack for spotting them. While this isn't the first megalodon tooth she has spotted, it is certainly the biggest she has found so far. “This tooth was in the water, so thanks to the waders, she got the best part of her present!” her mom told Daily Mail.
Molly's passion for shark teeth comes from her dad, who has done this for years, as well as her older sister. “My husband has looked for them his entire life!” Molly's mom admits. “We've always lived close to the bay so all of our kids have done it since they were little.” On Christmas Day alone, the family gathered 22 shark teeth and shared their discovery in a cheerful Facebook post, where the little girl grins from ear to ear as she holds her finding. “I'm pretty sure Molly is feeling like this is the best Christmas ever,” her mom wrote.
After celebrating her achievement, Molly took to the paleontology department of the Calvert Marine Museum, which confirmed the fossil's identity. Her finding will help further the academy's knowledge of the elusive megalodon, which puzzles experts to this day, as no complete skeleton has been found. However, Molly will have access to the tooth whenever she wants. “Molly is a super shy kid,” her mom explains, “so she isn't one to like the spotlight, but she also knows it's more about this amazing tooth.”