Researchers donate megalodon fossils to Bay Area schools

Gifted kids in Polk County just got quite a gift. Researchers at Florida Polytechnic Institute donated hundreds of fossils, worth tens of thousands of dollars, to the county's gifted program.

The Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute, FIPR, donated fossils including megalodon teeth and prehistoric whale vertebrae to give students the chance to learn more about paleontology.

“They’re telling a story of the past,” Emily Mistretta, who runs the program, told FOX 13. “It is something that was there long before us and I think students are fascinated by that.”

The megalodon teeth measure five-inches tall and are more than 4 million years old. The massive prehistoric shark once swam in the waters near Florida.

Other fossils in the collection are as old as 24 million years. 

The institute also donated $1,000 to the program.

All the fossils come from what is referred to as Bone Valley, in western Hillsborough, eastern Polk, and part of Hardee County.

“This is science that is real to their area,” said Kate Kaste, of FIPR.

Some of the fossils will also go to a school in Hillsborough County, Doby Middle, in Riverview.

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