• 330 Million Year Old Shark from Kentucky

    A 330 million year old shark head fossil has been found in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Mammoth is a Limestone cave. The limestone was deposited at a time that both Kentucky and Arizona were at the bottom of an ocean.

    Rocks of this age in Pinal County have almost all been erroded, but a few outcrops can be found. You can stop by the museum, for instance, and see the Pinal Limestone (pictured at right, with fossil corals) that was deposited about the same time the shark died in Kentucky. That shark also probably swam in the waters above Arizona.

    Fossils of sharks other than their teeth are rare. Most of a shark's body is cartilidge (like the center of your nose, or in the outside parts of your ears). Cartilidge does not fossilize well. Shark teeth, though, are among the most common fossils. They are made of bone, and very hard, and a typical shark may grow and shed teeth in the thousands during their lifetime.

    Link to article on CNN:

    You can see a number of fossil shark teeth at the Museum, including Megalodon teeth, from the extinct animal that was the largest known shark at over 50 feet. Kids can also find and take home fossil shark teeth from our fossil dig.

  • Megalodon

    Megalodon, Carcharocles megalodon, was the largest shark to have ever lived.

    The lived from 16 to 2.6 million years ago, from the mid Oligocene to the mid Pleistocene

    They may have grown up to about 50 feet (15 meters), about the same size as a Humpback Whale, twice the size of an Orca. Some paleontologists, though, doubt they grew longer than about 33 feet (11 meters) long.

    Though most people picture them looking like the Great White Shark of today, they may have been much slimmer of build. Their closest living relative is the Blue Shark, which is a much slimmer-bodied shark than the Great White Shark.

    Shark skeletons are made mostly of cartilidge rather than bone. Cartilidge is the same stuff that makes up the "nose bone" and your external ears. It does not fossilize well, and shark fossils other than teeth are extremely rare. However, sharks replace their teeth constantly, regularly shedding them, and each animal may go through thousands of teeth in a lifetime. Shark teeth are extremely hard, like our own, and are built of bone and enamel. They last a long time even when shed, and fossilize well.

    Megalodon teeth have been found around the world wherever there were ropic or subtropic waters while they were alive. They are quite common fossils. Sharks teeth in general are one of the most common fossils found.

    Great White Sharks of today only grow to 21 feet (7 meters) at the most, most quite a bit smaller. Whale Sharks, the largest living fish grow to about 33 feet (11 meters).

    Megalodons are most definiltely extinct, despite science fiction movies trying to say otherwise. There have been no Megalodon teeth found younger than about 2.6 million years old, whcih is older than the human species.



    Megalodon Coloring Sheet

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  • Megalodon Coloring Sheet