Meet Dave: Unique ancient shark skeleton on display at Manitoba fossil museum

If you take the trip to Morden, Man., make sure to stop in at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre (CFDC) and say hello to Dave.

Dave is a shark — a very, very old shark. He’s part of a new exhibit at the museum, and according to CDFC director Adolfo Cuetara, he might be the first of his species to be discovered.

“It’s not very common to find sharks, because the skeletons of sharks are made of cartilage, a soft material,” Cuetara said.

“We usually only find the teeth from the sharks…. In this case, we have the opposite. We have the whole skeleton of a shark — a big one — but no teeth. It’s something very special for science.”

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Cuetara said the 15-foot-long Dave is the only nearly complete fossil shark skeleton in Canada, and one of the four or five biggest in the world.

The skeleton had been hidden in the museum’s archives for more than four decades, he said, and was only recently rediscovered, at which point the CDFC realized what it had.

“With this shark, the research is still underway. Hopefully within a few weeks or months, we will know exactly which genus or species it is,” he said.

“It’s highly likely it will be a new species, because there is nothing like this in the registration of the fossils of that time.”

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