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Palaeontology

Huge prehistoric shark found in cave wall

By T.K. Randall
February 1, 2020 · Comment icon 2 comments



Mammoth Cave National Park is a popular visitor attraction. Image Credit: National Park Service
The well-preserved fossil remains of a 330 million-year-old shark have been discovered in a cave in Kentucky.
Given that sharks continuously lose and replace their teeth throughout their lives, shark teeth are among the most commonly discovered prehistoric fossils in the world.

The rest of a shark's body, by contrast, is a very rare find because cartilage breaks down easily and hardly ever survives fossilization, making such discoveries few and far between.

When ecologist Rick Olson and paleontologist Rick Toomey stumbled upon a large, fossilized shark head in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky back in November therefore, it quickly became apparent that they had discovered something very significant indeed.
According to palaeontoloist John-Paul Hodnett, the species - Saivodus striatus - dates back around 330 million years to the Late Mississippian period and was around the size of a great white shark.

"Most significantly, the majority of the shark fossils we discovered come from a layer of rock that extends from Missouri to Virginia, but never documented the presence of sharks, until now," said Hodnett. "It's like finding a missing puzzle piece to a very big picture."

The same cave is also thought to be home to the fossil remains of up to 100 other sharks.

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Shark fossils of Mammoth Cave National Park

A post shared by John-Paul Hodnett (@desertsabertooth) on



Source: CNET.com | Comments (2)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Myles 3 years ago
Pretty cool find.    Mammoth Cave is a great place to visit.    When I was 8 years old, we had a family reunion in that area.  We were doing a tour of the cave.   My older brother (10) and I found a small hole in the wall and decided to enter it.  We ended up going through miles of tunnels.   Came out on the other side of the hill many hours later.  Turns out there was a search party out for us.  We had no idea how happy everyone was to see us when we got back.  
Comment icon #2 Posted by third_eye 3 years ago
...safe and not fossilized...  ~


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