SC museum announces discovery of two new shark species from Paleogene Period

South Carolina News

Modern Sandtiger Shark teeth compared to those of the extinct Mennerotodus mackayi and Mennerotodus parmleyi. Image courtesy of McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Recently uncovered fossils dating back between 35 and 65 million years led researchers to discover two new shark species.

The team, headed by David Cicimurri, Curator of Natural History at the SC State Museum, brought together experts from across the southeast. They found “hundreds of isolated teeth” across Alabama and central Georgia.

The species are both members of the extinct genus, Mennerotodus, previously only known in Europe and Asia.

One of the new species, Mennerotodus mackayi “appeared just after the extinction of the dinosaurs, and… was likely one of the more common species in the ancient Gulf of Mexico” during the Paleocene Epoch.

The second species, Mennerotodus parmleyi, was around during the Eocene Epoch. Scientists discovered hundreds of fossilized teeth in a “defunct kaolinite mine in central Georgia.”

Both species are very closely related to the modern Sandtiger shark.

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