New shark species found in Wilkinson Co., Ga.

New shark species found in Wilkinson Co., Ga.
Close-up photograph of a modern Sandtiger Shark, which has teeth very similar to the new shark species discoveries in Alabama and Georgia. (Source: Courtesy: McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL.)

WILKINSON COUNTY, Ga. (WTVM) - Wilkinson County just outside of Macon, Ga. is probably the last place you would expect a new species of shark to be discovered, but scientists have done just that.

Teeth from the Mennerotodus parmleyi were found in the old Hardie Mine in Wilkinson County.

Scientists believe these sharks lived approximately 35 million years ago in the Bartonian Stage of the Eocene Epoch.

Mennerotodus parmleyi teeth.
Mennerotodus parmleyi teeth. (Source: Courtesy: McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL.)

The team who made the discovery also discovered a second new shark species in Lowndes County, Ala.

The species is being named after Dennis Parmley, a retied faculty member at Georgia College and State University, in honor of contributions to the study of paleontology in Georgia.

Teeth of the modern Sandtiger Shark compared to teeth of those of new species found in Ga. and Ala.
Teeth of the modern Sandtiger Shark compared to teeth of those of new species found in Ga. and Ala. (Source: McWane Science Center)

Scientists say the teeth Mennerotodus parmelyi and the Mennerotodus mackayi, the name of the species found in Ala., are remarkably similar to those of the modern Sandtiger Shark.

While it is impossible to know exactly what these sharks looked like, scientists believe it is likely they shared other similarities to Sandtiger Sharks. They may have grown up to ten feet in length and had a diet of bony fish, crustaceans, squids, skates and other sharks.

Teeth from the Mennerotodus parmleyi were also found in south Alabama and Arkansas.

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