Scientists Discovered Ancient Shark In Kentucky Cave

  • Scientists Discovered Ancient Shark In Kentucky Cave

Scientists Discovered Ancient Shark In Kentucky Cave

The shark's skull was found in Kentucky in Mammoth Cave National Park, which is home to the longest known cave system in the world at over 400 miles. By studying his teeth, Hodnett was able to determine that the fossil was part of a species called Saivodus striatus that was about the size of a modern great white shark - about 16 to 20 feet long.

There's hardly ever any record at all of sharks teeth coming from these rocks.

Moreover, the discovery is setting a new record. The scientists have discovered a lot of remains, between 15-20 pieces from different species of sharks.

Santucci then got in touch with colleague John-Paul Hodnett of Maryland's Dinosaur Park, who paid a visit to the cave in November 2019 as part of the Mammoth Cave National Park Fossil Shark Research Project.

"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", Hodnett said.

The paleontologists have identified that we have proof of sharks that lived 330 million years ago, more precisely in the Late Mississippian geological period. "And the head itself is quite big", Hodnett said. "So that was exciting", Hodnett said. However, these earliest sharks may not have looked very much like the famous, toothy "Jaws"-like animals we all picture when we think of sharks". Hodnett ventured into the labyrinthine cave system in November of past year, crawling around on all fours for about a quarter-mile to reach the site, as CNN reported.

Researchers have just identified the skull of a shark that lived a shocking 330 million years in the past.

"Due to the delicate nature of the cave environment, and the logistics of navigating equipment in the narrow passages of the cave, it may not be ideal to remove large chunks of limestone to extract the fossils", he told Gizmodo. He estimates that he has found the fossils of about 150 different sharks of 15 to 20 different species. Other fossils hailing from this verdant time period (in which most of North America was covered with warm, shallow water) include those of snails, squid-like animals and many other invertebrates.

Mammoth Cave scientists Rick Olson and Rick Toomey mapped a remote part of the cave when they began to see shark fossils, according to Vincent Santucci, senior paleontologist at the National Park Service.

"We literally just scratched the surface, and the sharks are just coming out from that scratch", Hodnett said. "When we got to our target specimen, my mind was blown".

The researchers plan to present their preliminary findings in October at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. "We might want to develop either a temporary or permanent exhibit to display the shark fossils".

Based on what was exposed in the cave wall, Hodnett identified a lower jaw of an ancient shark.

After seeing snaps of the fossils, Hodnett visited the caves for himself.