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General Fossil Information


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Sharks first evolved 400 million years ago and have maintained the same general body plan and habits. One of their most distinguishing features is that the skeleton is comprised of cartilage instead of bone. The most commonly occurring fossils are teeth, which are composed of enamel. On a rare occasion, their vertebrae are discovered as fossils because they have become ossified. Most specimens within the CFDC collection belong to the genus Cretolamna, which reached lengths between 1.5 and 6 m (5 – 20 feet). However, the CFDC has recently discovered a few specimens of the genus Squalicorex which was similar to today’s tiger shark in both size and shape. Today’s sharks are generally larger in comparison to the ones which swam in the Western Interior Seaway 80 million years ago. The shark’s main competitors in the seaway were mosasaurs and plesiosaurs.