Divers hunt for fossil teeth from the ancient world's largest shark—and find plenty

A Megalodon shark tooth fossil. Photo: Johnny Cercopely.

A Megalodon shark tooth fossil. Photo: Johnny Cercopely.

The teeth of a giant shark known as Megalodon, the ancestor of sharks still found off the South Carolina coast, can be found throughout the Lowcountry.

In the Post and Courier, a profile of South Carolina diver Johnny Cercopely, who has unearthed some doozies from river and sea. Unlike less ethical hobby divers in the area, he won't sell what he finds on the archaeology black market.

Cercopely cautions surfacing divers, don't even look at the boat. Look around first, because gators sometimes come off the bank when they spot the prey-sized head. "If you see a 'log' floating nearby, watch it," he says.

After finds of the Megalodon first were publicized, the Cooper quickly got a worldwide reputation among divers for the teeth, Cercopely said. But they're not unique to the river.

"Anywhere in the Lowcountry you're in a river, you could find a fossil," he said. Divers' fascination with the Cooper is about more than the monsters. Similar, slightly smaller teeth from an even older shark are found, along with mammoth fossils, Civil War artifacts and shipwrecks.

Cooper River divers seek fossil teeth of world's biggest shark