Four thousand years ago, the first human entered Mammoth Cave in central Kentucky. The cave is the lowest can system in the world, with 365 miles being explored to date. In 2020 40 different species of shark fossils were found in Mammoth Cave. Park officials said it is one of the most diverse Mississippian shark faunas in North America.
The Paleozoic Era species are also referred to as “Mississippian,” which is a term used by geologists in North America to describe the time period between 358.9 and 298.9 million years ago, according to the National Parks Service.
During the Mississippian Period, shallow seas covered much of North America, including Kentucky. During this time, the first amphibians began to appear, and so did the cave system that became Mammoth Cave.
The fossil-rich limestone of Mammoth cave has been known to contain fossils like ice age mammals and shark teeth, and fin spines.
In addition to fossils, one of the cave’s most remarkable features is the abundance of stalactite formations, which number in the thousands and were created from years of water seeping through the cave’s limestone ceiling.