A prehistoric shark tooth that was gifted to Britain’s Prince George by zoologist David Attenborough last week is being sought by Malta, which argues that the artifact should be on display where it was originally excavated.
The veteran broadcaster discovered the ancient incisor while on a family holiday in the late 1960s. Kensington Palace announced in recent days that the 94-year-old gave it to the seven-year-old prince when he attended a private viewing of his latest documentary with members of the royal family.
The fossil dates back a staggering 23 million years and once belonged to a megalodon, an extinct species of giant shark that could grow up to 16 meters in length.
The palace’s touting of the exchange now looks set to spark a minor diplomatic standoff over the artifact, with Malta’s Culture Minister Jose Herrera vowing to “set the ball rolling” to get it back.
“There are some artifacts that are important to Maltese natural heritage and which ended up abroad and deserve to be retrieved,” Herrera told the Times of Malta.
“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 added.
Kensington Palace and David Attenborough have both yet to comment publicly on the matter.
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