Shark tooth fossils, millions of years old, found in Merida cenote

Several shark-tooth fossils, millions of years old, were found in a newly discovered Merida cenote. Photos: Courtesy

Mérida, Yucatán — At the bottom of a newly discovered cenote in Cholul comes another find: Vestiges of sharks that have been extinct for more than five million years.

Cenote Xoc, Mayan for shark, was put on the map at the beginning of the year. It is Merida’s third largest, more than 400 meters long and 28 meters deep.

Along with 15 tooth fossils, divers have also found human remains and a fossil of a vertebra that possibly belonged to another long-gone species.

Underwater photographer Kay Nicte Vilchis Zapata found the first of several shark teeth fossils, setting off a search for more.

The sharks are associated with the Miocene period, which began 23 million years ago and ended six million years ago; or perhaps from the Pliocene period, which dates back five million years ago and ended 2.6 million years ago, at which stage these groups of prehistoric sharks disappeared.

The tentative identification was made by Jerónimo Avilés Olguín Segovia, a researcher at the Museo del Desierto in Coahuila.

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