Malta wants prehistoric tooth gifted to Prince George by Sir David Attenborough back

The island's Culture Minister says some artifacts "deserve to be retrieved".
The island's Culture Minister says some artifacts "deserve to be retrieved". Photo credit: Getty / Kensington Royal/Instagram.

A prehistoric shark tooth gifted to Prince George from Sir David Attenborough may not be in the future king's possession for long. 

Malta, where the fossilised tooth was originally excavated in the 1960s, would like the tooth back so it can be displayed amongst its national heritage collection.

The Times of Malta cites Culture Minister Jose Herrera as saying he would like to "get the ball rolling". 

"There are some artifacts that are important to Maltese natural heritage and which ended up abroad and deserve to be retrieved," Herrera said.

"We rightly give a lot of attention to historical and artistic artifacts. However, it is not always the case with our natural history. I am determined to direct a change in this attitude."

The tooth, which came from a carcharocles megalodon, was given to Prince George on Saturday after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended an outdoor screening of Sir David's upcoming film. 

"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," Kensington Palace said on its Instagram account.

"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."

Malta was once a British colony, but became independent in 1964 and a republic in 1974.