They discover in Colombia the fossil of a flat-toothed shark, the first to be registered in America

In the image, the fossil of the flat-toothed shark found in Santander, Colombia. Photo: Rosario University

In the Colombian municipality of Zapatoca, located in the department of SantanderA team of paleontologists discovered the fossil of a flat-toothed sharkthus becoming the first record of this extinct species found in the American continent.

Traces of the new sea creature, named as Stropodus rebecaewere found by paleontologists Edwin Chainfrom the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the Universidad del Rosario, and George Carrillo, from the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

“What is relevant about this fossil species is that it constitutes the first record of a family of extinct flat-toothed sharks in the entire American continent,” Cadena stressed, while explaining that this shark inhabited Colombia 135 million years ago. during “the geological period known as the early Cretaceous.”

This species is characterized by have flat teethvery similar to small dominoes that, according to the Colombian paleontologist, “they were used to crush food, rather than to cut and tear as in the case of the sharp teeth of most living sharks”.

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The discovery adds to fossils of a pterosaur found by the same paleontologist of the Universidad del Rosario in July 2020, in the municipality of Zapatoca. The species, which lived about 135 million yearsis a reptile flying vertebrate characterized by reaching five meters when it spread its wings, and for feeding, mainly, on crabs and fish, this is how the EFE news agency discovered it.

Cadena, as reported by Semana magazine, has also been involved in other important discoveries in Colombian territory, that of the world’s largest snake, Titanoboa cerrejonensisand the tortoise largest ever recorded, the Desmatochelys Padillai.

“We started to realize that, just like with humans, we don’t need to have a skeleton to be able to tell if it’s a new species or not. We had hominid species defined only with jaws and teeth, our dental chart is unique in a certain way and the same happens with certain groups of animals, such as these sharks, whose teeth are very particular, “said the Colombian paleontologist in dialogue with the Bogota media .

The finding, which continues to position Colombia as one of the countries that has made the most contributions to science in recent yearswas published in the international public access scientific journal, PeerJ, and can be consulted at the following link: https://peerj.com/articles/13496/.

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It should be remembered that the case of the flat-toothed shark is not the only fossil that has been found in Colombia in recent months. At the beginning of this 2022, the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the Universidad del Rosario announced that a team of its paleontologists found in La Calera (Cundinamarca), two insect fossils that inhabited the Cretaceous geological period, about 100 million years ago.

The Universidad del Rosario announced to the newspaper El Espectador that the fossils found corresponded to a mayfly and a beetle, which measured 12 millimeters and half a centimeter, respectively. According to the institution, the bone remains were found in amber (fossilized resin of plant origin).

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