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More remains of the world’s largest shark found in the depths of a cenote in Yucatán

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
A Megalodon’s tooth dwarfs the size of the modern oceans’ most fierce predator, the great white shark. Photo: Courtesy

Divers discovered another tooth from one of the world’s largest predators in an undisclosed cenote in Yucatán.

The announcement of this most recent discovery was made during a presentation by Fundación Bepensa regarding their efforts to rid Yucatán’s cenotes of garbage.

The megalodon, or “big tooth” is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 2.3 to 3.6 million years ago from the early Miocene to the Pliocene periods.

Measuring in at up to 20 meters or 67 feet, this massive fish is thought to be one of the most fierce predators the world has ever seen. It was three times longer than the largest recorded great white shark.

How exactly the remains of this enormous animal found their way into a cenote is unknown. One thing is for sure, the dimensions of such geological formations would be rather cramped for an animal of such a size. 

Artist rendering of a Megalodon and a contemporary great white shark side by side. Photo: Getty Images

The divers who were part of a project to clean up the state’s cenotes of solid waste also reported the discovery of cave paintings and pre-columbian ceramics at a number of Cenotes across the state. 

Earlier: Sinkhole appears in Mérida home’s backyard, but family is staying put

This is not the first time the remains of ancient animals have been discovered in Yucatán’s cenotes and caves. As a recent example, in 2019 the underwater photographer Kay Nicte Vilchis Zapata found the first of several ancient shark teeth fossils at Cenote Xoc, in Cholul.

According to official estimates, the state of Yucatán is home to over 8,000 cenotes, but roughly a third of them remain untouched. It is quite likely that these virgin cenotes contain both archaeological and paleontological evidence just waiting to be discovered

The sacking of archaeological and paleontological remains from cenotes and other bodies of water has become a serious issue, especially in sparsely populated southern Yucatán.

Given the large number of cenotes in Yucatán and a lack of resources to adequately explore and protect them all, researchers will often not publish their findings out of fear that they will tip off looters.

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