A fossil discovered on the coast of Guerrero could be a now-extinct species of giant shark that lived between 23 million and 2.6 million years ago, according to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).
Residents of a community in the municipality of Cuajinicuilapa discovered the remains near the mouth of a river at a beach called Punta Maldonado.
INAH officials are now in the process of excavating the fossil, which could measure as much as 18 meters in length. Some five meters, including the head, have not yet been located.
“It’s important to recover the skull so the species can be defined,” said INAH archaeologist Antonio Hermosillo.
INAH is seeking the help of paleontologists to identify whether the fossil is a megalodon, described by Wikipedia as “a stockier version of the great white shark,” or a whale.
Hermosillo said the bones could be between 5 million and 1.8 million years old. Although much of the remains have become mineralized, he said, there still remains some organic material, although the fossil “is very, very fragile.”
Local residents, most of whom rely on fishing for a living, are hoping the fossil can remain in the community and become a tourist attraction.