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.
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.