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First record of the megatoothed shark Carcharocles megalodon from the Mio-Pliocene Purisima Formation of Northern California.


Megatoothed sharks (Family: Otodontidae) are among the most widely reported sharks in Cenozoic marine sediments worldwide, and certain species such as the famed Carcharocles megalodon are particularly abundant in Neogene deposits on the Atlantic margin of the United States. Cenozoic marine strata on the Pacific margin of North America have yielded one of the most densely sampled marine vertebrate records anywhere, but published occurrences of shark assemblages are uncommon. Rarer yet are published occurrences of C. megalodon from this region with unambiguous provenance and robust age control — critical data required for the study of recent marine vertebrate faunal evolution in the eastern North Pacific. A tooth of C. megalodon from near Santa Cruz, California, represents the first record of this species from the Purisima Formation and the geochronologically youngest occurrence (6.9–5.6 Ma, uppermost Miocene; late Messinian) of this species from northern California.

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