A 13-year-old boy has found a shark tooth belonging to a super-predator that was so large it could devour a whale in a few bites.
Ben Evans, an avid fossil hunter, found the four-inch tooth while visiting Walton-on-the-Naze, on the Essex coast, on Sunday.
The tooth is believed to belong to the megalodon shark - a pre-historic creature around 50ft (17m) long - two to three times larger than today's great white shark.
It could travel long distances and was capable of eating whole prey of up to 8m long.
The massive shark - which roamed the oceans millions of years ago - inspired the Hollywood horror film The Meg and its sequel.
The teenager's dad, Jason, said his son was "over the moon, jumping for joy, laughing, bouncing" over the find.
Ben, from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, said: "We were just looking on the beach for little shark teeth, not expecting to find anything big. We decided to walk down to the rocks at one end of the beach, cause people had said they'd found big teeth there.
"So we went down there and we looked in the rocks, and we just saw the tooth there, just lying in the rocks."
He said: "I didn't know what to say. I don't think either of us did."
Dad Jason added: "It was quite a tight hole he had to crawl into, to get to it, through the sea water that was in there.
"And this was about 6.45am in the morning.
"So he was over the moon, we both were. It's not often that you find something like this lying around."
The family are in touch with the National History Museum to verify whether the tooth belongs to the megalodon shark which roamed the oceans millions of years ago.
Ben has a passion for fossils and has been visiting the Essex coast with his dad for years to hunt for them.
He says the megalodon tooth is his most exciting find.
The 13-year-old said he began with a love for dinosaurs, which led to his fascination for fossils.
He would go to his aunt's home and sift through the gravel to find fossilised shells called ammonites.
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