Science

Researchers Discovered Fossilized Head of Shark in Kentucky Cave

The latest discovery in Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, has amazed researchers. Notably, they have discovered the remains of the large, fossilized head of shark in the walls of a cave. Even more, the fossilized remain of shark dates back around 300 million years. Researchers surmise the skull belongs to a Saivodus striatus, that survived between 330-340 million years ago. According to the researchers, the sharks survived throughout the Late Mississippian geological period. At the time, oceans covered most regions of North America. After the death of the sharks, the bones remained hidden in the deposits that ultimately turned into limestone.

The well-maintained head reveals the shark’s skull, cartilage, lower jaw, and some teeth. Depending on the dimensions, the team assumes the animal had a size similar to the present-day Great White shark. Paleontologist Rick Toomey and ecologist Rick Olson first came across the fossils while surveying the world’s lengthiest cave system. While carefully inspecting the 400-mile Mammoth Cave walls, they discovered a colossal shark head in fossilized form. The researchers captured images of the remains containing shark’s teeth, lower jaw, and lower jaw.

The imagery finally came into the attention of paleontologist John-Paul Hodnett. The Maryland-based researcher has estimated that the remains belonged to a shark species – Saivodus striatus. Hodnett said most importantly, most of the shark fossils they found have emerged from a rock that outspreads from Missouri to Virginia. But they have had not recognized the existence of sharks, until now. Hodnett added it is like finding a final piece of the puzzle of a large image. Hodnett and the other researchers involved in the study aim to represent their discoveries at the annual conference of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting slated in October. The crucial thing to notice is that finding skeletons of shark is extremely strange as cartilages hardly exist after fossilization. Now, the team has returned to the cave to find 100 specific samples like teeth and fins of other kinds of sharks.

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