Malta seeks return of shark tooth fossil gifted to UK’s Prince George by Attenborough
VALLETTA (MALTA) – Malta is seeking the return of a prehistoric shark tooth presented to UK’s Prince George by naturalist Sir David Attenborough. The Maltese government says the fossil should be displayed in a natural history museum in the island.
On Saturday, Kensington Palace announced the gift, saying the seven-year-old prince was gifted the fossil when Attenborough attended a private viewing of his latest environmental documentary with royal family members.
The naturalist discovered the fossil during a holiday to Malta in the late 60s and it was found embedded in soft yellow limestone. It is estimated to be around 23 million years old.
Meanwhile, Maltese Culture Minister Jose Herrera said the fossil’s rightful place was in a museum and promised to take steps to get it back.
“There are some artefacts that are important to Maltese natural heritage and which ended up abroad and deserve to be retrieved,” Herrera said.
Naturalists say the tooth belonged to a megalodon, an extinct giant shark species that could grown up to 16 metres.
“We rightly give a lot of attention to historical and artistic artefacts. However, it is not always the case with our natural history. I am determined to direct a change in this attitude,” the minister said.
Malta was under British control until 1964.