30-Foot Ancient Ancestor Of Great White Shark Uncovered In Quarry


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A study published Wednesday details the discovery of an ancient 30-foot ancestor of the modern great white shark at a quarry in Mexico.

The incredibly well-preserved fossil of a shark from the genus Ptychodus was uncovered in a limestone quarry in Nuevo León, northeastern Mexico, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The outline of the beast was fully preserved, leading researchers to make a stunning discovery.

The authors of the study suggested the reason the shark went extinct some 76 million years ago was likely due to competition over its food source.

Ptychodus occupied a special ecological niche in Late Cretaceous seas,” the study’s lead author Romain Vullo told Live Sciences. Though it was long believed this species only ate invertebrates, the new fossil suggests it was well adapted to eating hard-shell prey, such as sea turtles. (RELATED: New Species Of ‘Demon’ Shark With Creepy White Eyes Discovered In Australia)

“Toward the end of the Cretaceous, these large sharks were likely in direct competition with some marine reptiles (mosasaurs) targeting the same prey,” Vullo added. But the monster’s cousins went on to make up some of the most volatile creatures in our oceans: The mako, salmon and great white shark, so not all was lost.

And at least we don’t have to worry about sharing our oceans with a 30-foot monster … right?