Why Prince George may be forced to give back his special gift from Sir David Attenborough

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  • Sir David Attenborough recently presented Prince George with a giant shark tooth, but he may be forced to give it back to Malta - where it came from.


    The animal-loving legend found the rare fossil during a family holiday to Malta in the late 1960s, and gave it to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge‘s eldest child when he visited Kensington Palace for a private screening of his new documentary, A Life on Our Planet.

    The fossilised tooth was from the extinct Carcharocles megalodon – a giant species of shark that grew up to 16 metres and lived more than three million years ago.

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    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to share new photographs of their family with @DavidAttenborough. The photographs were taken earlier this week in the gardens of Kensington Palace, after The Duke and Sir David attended an outdoor screening of Sir David’s upcoming feature film 🎞️ ‘David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet’. With a shared passion for protecting the natural world, they continue to support one another in their missions to tackle some of the biggest environmental challenges our planet faces. This includes working together on The @EarthshotPrize 🌍 the most prestigious global environment prize in history – further details of which will be shared in the coming weeks. When they met, Sir David gave Prince George a tooth from a giant shark 🦷 the scientific name of which is carcharocles megalodon (‘big tooth’). Sir David found the tooth on a family holiday to Malta in the late 1960s, embedded in the island’s soft yellow limestone which was laid down during the Miocene period some 23 million years ago. Carcharocles is believed to have grown to 15 metres in length, which is about twice the length of the Great White, the largest shark alive today.

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    George was pictured showing off his present to his younger brother, Prince Louis, and he looked fascinated by it.

    But, sadly, he may have to give it back soon, as Malta’s culture minister Jose Herrera said he intends to “get the ball rolling” on repatriating the artefact.

    He told the Times of Malta: ‘There are some artefacts that are important to natural heritage which ended up abroad and deserve to be retrieved.”

    The fossil was embedded in Malta’s soft yellow limestone, which was laid down during the Miocene period some 23 million years ago. Malta is a former British colony that got independence in 1964.

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    Sir David explained the reasoning for his gift to the Sunday Times: “When I was his age, I remember being given fossils by a grown-up, so I thought I would do the same.

    At the private screening, Sir David also met Princess Charlotte and Louis – who Kate Middleton has previously confessed are “massive fans” of his, and he said meeting the three children was “charming”.

    “[He asked] What it was? How big it was? And so on. He was certainly very interested. He seemed to like it. He is very interested in fossils.

    “She [Charlotte] was too. All three seemed charming.”

    He added: “It was a very nice domestic occasion.”