Malta seeks return of shark tooth fossil gifted to Prince George

Tooth of a Carcharocles megalodon, a close relative of the Great White shark, that lived 23 to 3.6 million years ago during the Early Miocene to the Pliocene Epoch. It measures 5.4 inches long, 4.4 inches wide and was discovered in North Carolina. Photo by Tomleetaiwan

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) – Malta says it will seek to retrieve a shark tooth that was presented to Britain’s Prince George by veteran broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough, who found the fossil during a holiday on the Mediterranean island in the 1960s.

Culture Minister Jose Herrera said he will “get the ball rolling” to bring back the tooth to be exhibited in a Maltese museum.

“There are some artifacts that are important to natural heritage which ended up abroad and deserve to be retrieved,” he told the Times of Malta.

The fossil, believed to be around 3 million years old, belonged to an extinct species of a giant shark that could grow up to 16 meters (about 50 feet), three times the size of modern great white sharks.

Attenborough, 94, presented the fossil to Prince George during a private viewing of his new documentary at Kensington Palace.

Photos released by the palace over the weekend showed the 7-year-old prince looking intrigued as he looked at the tooth. Malta is a former British colony that obtained independence in 1964.

Kensington Palace declined to comment.

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