Since 1975 shark fossil has been in storage

Staff at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre discovered at three-metre Squalicorax, or ancient...

Staff at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre discovered at three-metre Squalicorax, or ancient shark, fossil. It's the longest and one of the most complete in the world. (HANDOUT)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 6:58 PM ET

It's one of the biggest fossilized sharks of all time and it was right under our noses.

Staff at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden, about 125 km southwest of Winnipeg, discovered a three-meter-long fossilized shark that has been stored in their collection room since 1975.

"Limited resources mean it can take a while to get to some things but once we took a closer look we realized we had something of great significance," curator Matt Duda said in a news release.

Formally known as a Squalicorax, the fossil is the biggest of its kind in the world.

Photos of the specimen were sent to palaeontologist Michael Newbrey, a fish expert at Columbus State University in Georgia.

Newbrey plans to come to Manitoba to study the find.

"It is one of the most complete specimens of Squalicorax next to a two-meter long specimen at the Smithsonian," Newbrey said in the release.

Sharks first started swimming in North America's oceans at least 400 million years ago.

Like modern sharks, they had no bone, only cartilage in their skeletons; usually only teeth are found fossilized.

Now, the centre says, it needs to raise funds to be able to properly prepare the fossil for research and exhibition.

"I think it will rank as one of the top three displayed articulated fossil sharks (of any kind) from the Cretaceous period of North America," said Newbrey.

The unveiling of the fossil will kick off the center's Shark Week festivities Aug. 11.

 


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