Shark Fossils, 93-Foot Waterfall Discovered Deep in a Tennessee Cave
My last go-round with Mammoth Cave was when I was a child. After my middle school growth spurt, walking through it became a non-starter.
Even now, when I watch documentaries or videos featuring spelunkers diving deep into cave systems makes me just a tad bit uneasy. Yes, I have some claustrophobia issues that make themselves known from time to time.
CAVE EXPLORATION IN TENNESSEE
When I found a video from TAG_Caver that documents her team going deep into a Tennessee cave, those same issues resurfaced. But she and her team's exploration was just too fascinating to stop watching.
It's discoveries like that that keep my attention. I would've thought a lizard deep in a cave wouldn't be so colorful, but then again, I could never get away with claiming any kind of expertise in biology. It was easily my worst subject in high school. Still, I find it all very fascinating...like this stalactite, for example.
I thought it resembled waffle fries, and I wasn't alone.
SHARK FOSSILS AND AN ENORMOUS WATERFALL DEEP IN A TENNESSEE CAVE
What about all those shark fossils, beginning around the 5:00 mark? At first, I was a little surprised, but then it occurred to me just how old this cave probably is. That led to some research on the subject. What I learned was that I had no reason to be surprised at all. The National Park Service informs us that Mammoth Cave is loaded with shark fossils:
More than 40 different species of fossil sharks and relatives have been identified from Mammoth Cave specimens in the past 10 months and the fossil survey continues. Among this fossil shark assemblage, there appears to be at least six fossil shark species that are new to science. Those species will be described and named in a forthcoming scientific publication.
So I am now blown away. But it doesn't take much to do that with me when it comes to scientific discoveries; I would have been giddy if I had found this:
TENNESSEE IS NO STRANGER TO CAVE WATERFALLS
As for that amazing waterfall, it IS impressive, but it's still more than 50 feet shy of the iconic Ruby Falls in Chattanooga. (And no, despite all the invitations on barns across southern Tennessee, I have never "seen" Ruby Falls.)
Although I would have no problem seeing Ruby Falls. Yes, it's commercialized, but it's still an extraordinary natural wonder. Plus, it's in a big open space; hopefully, that wouldn't set off any claustrophobic alarm bells.
As for what the TAG_Caver team found...well, I'll just have to enjoy that sort of thing watching it online.