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Offbeat New Ancient Shark Species Discovered in Alabama

19:07  10 january  2018
19:07  10 january  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

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Fossilized teeth have been unearthed in Alabama of an ancient shark species that’s never identified before. Scientists believe the creature lived in the Gulf of Mexico during the Paleogene Period, about 65 million years ago, just after the extinction of dinosaurs. Mennerotodus parmleyi teeth. The new species , Mennerotodus mackayi, is being named in honor of John Mackay, the first president and CEO of the McWane Science Center in Birmingham. The team that made the discovery includes paleontologist Jun Ebersole, the McWayne Center’s director of collections, as well as David Cicimurri

Alabama ancient sharks and fossils found!!! (OLDER THAN MEGALODON) Matt from Gone Diggin and I head out on an adventure in to the farm cou Who would have thought there were once seas that contained species from over 80 million years ago right in central Alabama . We find tons of cool teeth, fossils and a few mystery items. possibly mosasarus related!!! Stay tuned for the adventure as the fun never stops!

A megaoldon tooth (center) and three Bryant shark teeth (right.)© Provided by IBT Media A megaoldon tooth (center) and three Bryant shark teeth (right.) Imagine a great white shark as long as a bowling lane, with teeth that could grow up to the size of your hand. Does this sound like the monster in a B-movie? Well, yes, megalodon is the star of several low-budget thrillers, but it was also a real animal. From 23 million to 2.6 million years ago, the largest shark that ever lived ruled the warm waters of the world.

Now, scientists have discovered a dinosaur-era shark may have been an even earlier ancestor of megalodon, illustrating the evolution of one of the most fearsome creatures to swim the earth.

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There are over 500 species of sharks that have roamed our waters since the beginning of time… and scientists have just added one more to the growing number of species we know. The scientists discovered new species of ancient eagle rays off of Madagascar!

Researchers have identified two new species of ancient sharks from fossils found in the southeastern United States. The authors of the study were able to identify the sharks as new species based on examination of hundreds of isolated teeth, which were discovered in southern Alabama and central Georgia for Mennerotodus mackayi and Mennerotodus parmleyi respectively. Fossils of sharks from the genus Mennerotodus—whose members are now all extinct, including the two newly identified species —have only previously been found in Europe and Asia, according to the scientists.

Paleontologists have been collecting fossilized ancient shark teeth in Alabama for decades. After nearly 50 years, the collection was large enough to enable paleontologists to name and describe a new species: Cretalamna bryanti, or the Bryant shark.

Researchers from the University of Alabama and the McWane Science Center, also in Alabama, identified 33 teeth belonging to this species. The teeth described in their study and formal description of the animal, published in the journal PeerJ , were found between 1980 and 2011 in the Black Belt region of Alabama. This 240-mile region reaches from the northwest corner of the state into the center and provides a snapshot of the Upper Cretaceous period, which stretched from 100.5 to 66 million years ago, that is "nearly perfect," the study authors write. C. bryanti lived about 83 million years ago and gave rise to a variety of ancient shark species, including megalodon.

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Now, scientists have discovered a dinosaur-era shark that may have been an even earlier ancestor of megalodon, illustrating the evolution of one of the most fearsome creatures to swim the seas. Paleontologists have been collecting fossilized ancient shark teeth in Alabama for decades. After nearly 50 years, the collection was large enough to enable paleontologists to name and describe a new species : Cretalamna bryanti, or the bryant shark . Researchers from the University of Alabama and the McWane Science Center, also in Alabama , identified 33 teeth belonging to this species .

Paleontologists almost never find shark fossils that represent anything other than the teeth of the animals. That’s because sharks have bones only in their mouths; their “skeletons” are made of cartilage, a soft tissue that rarely leaves fossil remains. Modern sharks give us the best clues about how their extinct ancestors may have looked, which is why artists and filmmakers often portray megalodon as a great white shark, but scaled up.

The Bryant shark was an early member of a group of “mega-tooth” sharks, most of which went extinct at the same time as the non-bird dinosaurs 66 million years ago. The teeth on this shark were much smaller than those of megalodon; the biggest Bryant shark tooth discovered so far is only an inch long. That also means that its body probably was about 15 feet long.

Over time, study co-author Jun Ebersole, director of collections at McWane Science Center, told LiveScience, sharks in the megalodon line, "grow to enormous sizes." This new study adds to our understanding of the ancient, giant creatures that once swam the saltwater seas of what is now Alabama.

The researchers named the shark after football player Paul "Bear" Bryant, who coached the University of Alabama's football team for 25 years.

This tiny shark eats grass and it’s doing just fine .
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