Malta U-turn: Prince George can keep his shark tooth fossil


In this Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 photo released by Kensington Palace, Britain’s Prince William and Prince Louis react as Prince George holds the tooth of a giant shark given to him by Naturalist Sir David Attenborough in the gardens of Kensington Palace in London after Prince William joined Attenborough for an outdoor screening of his upcoming film – David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet. (Kensington Palace via AP)

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VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — Britain’s young Prince George can keep his giant shark tooth fossil.

Culture Minister Jose Herrera reversed himself after facing a backlash for announcing his intention to reclaim the shark tooth fossil that had been a gift to 7-year-old prince from British naturalist and TV presenter David Attenborough. A spokesman for the minister told Times of Malta on Tuesday that “it is not (our) intention to pursue this matter any further.”

Asked about the flap, Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela said “we should avoid creating unnecessary controversies.”

Critics of the plan included the son of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Matthew, who wrote on Twitter that a “megalodon tooth costs $40 on eBay. Corruption has cost us billions of euros. I ask my government to prioritize and please get a grip on what’s important.”

The fossil, believed to be around three million years old, belonged to an extinct species of a giant shark that could grow up to 16 meters (about 50 feet), three times the size of modern great white sharks.

Attenborough, 94, presented the fossil to the prince during a private viewing of his new documentary at Kensington Palace. He had found it during a vacation in the island nation in the 1960s.

Photos released by the palace over the weekend showed Prince George looking intrigued as he inspected the tooth.

Malta is a former British colony that obtained independence in 1964.

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