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Prince George's Shark Tooth Generates International Controversy

Prince George's Shark Tooth Generates International Controversy
September 29, 2020 - 18:58 / Lucas Anderson

Prince George recently received a very rare and special gift: a tooth of the extinct shark species megalodon, given to him by Sir David Attenborough. But news of the tooth and its origin led to controversy in Malta and calls for the young prince to surrender the gift. Here's the latest on the story with a new response from Maltese officials.

Last week, legendary nature filmmaker Sir David Attenborough paid a visit to Kensington Palace. He met with Prince William to screen his new documentary David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, but also greeted Duchess Kate and the children during the visit.

The naturalist did not come empty-handed, either. Attenborough gave Prince George, 7, an extremely rare gift: a shark's tooth.

Prince George receives shark tooth from David Attenborough

In a photo published by Kensington Palace, the young prince is seen examining Attenborough's gift (picture two below). Prince William, Duchess Kate, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2, are also seen in the new pictures.

The fossil is believed to be around 23 million years old. It is the tooth of a megalodon, an extinct species of shark — one of a kind, no doubt. But shortly after Prince George received the gift, the Culture Minister of Malta got involved.

Prince George: Shark tooth gift brings momentary trouble in Malta

Maltese officials demanded that the tooth be displayed in a local museum in Malta. The reason? The tooth is part of Malta's natural heritage. The naturalist Sir David Attenborough originally found the shark's tooth while on vacation in Malta in the 1960s.

"There are some artifacts that are important to natural heritage which ended up abroad and deserve to be retrieved," Culture Minister Jose Herrera told the Times of Malta. It is also forbidden to remove or dig up fossils in Malta, as Attenborough did.

But after the Culture Minister's first statement, the country on Tuesday walked back these initial remarks. In a statement reported by CNN, they said "no action was initiated or will be taken on the issue." It appears Prince George will keep the prehistoric gift, at least for now.