Fossil, millions of years old, found in Yucatán cenote

A fossil at least five million years old has been found in Kinchil, Yucatán. Photo: SEDUMA
A fossil at least five million years old has been found in Kinchil, Yucatán. Photo: SEDUMA

Kinchil, Yucatán — An underwater exploration in a cenote is uncovering a multitude of clues about what creatures lived here millions of years ago.

One coral fossil is five million years old, but it could trace back as long as 25 million years.

Divers from SEDUMA, the Secretariat of Urban Development and Environment, say that the fossil dates to the Miocene-Pliocene times. It corresponds to a four-meter-deep colony of massive stone coral, measuring approximately 90 centimeters in diameter, attached to the roof of the entrance area to the underwater cavern, in the cenote’s southern section.

A fossil at least five million years old has been found in Kinchil, Yucatán. Photo: SEDUMA

Given the karst nature of the state, where eroded landscape is underlain by limestone ridges, towers, fissures and sinkholes, it is common to find shells, snails, fragments of marine sponges and even small colonies of coral.

However, this discovery stands out. Scientists are excited about the good condition the fossil is in, yielding clues to the history of the land.

The cenote is on a private ranch somewhere between the municipalities of Kinchil and Celestún. It is 25 meters wide by 30 meters long, and is one meter deep in the open water area. It is up to 35 meters deep in its underwater cavern.

The exploration of the place was carried out in three different stages, with the participation of the SEDUMA cenote divers Erick Sosa Rodríguez and Arturo Mora, accompanied by Monica Torre, a member of the Espeleological Circle of Mayab and the restaurateur Cristina Sanmartín. Photo: SEDUMA

The exploration of the place was carried out in three different stages, with the participation of the SEDUMA cenote divers Erick Sosa Rodríguez and Arturo Mora, accompanied by Monica Torre, a member of the Espeleological Circle of Mayab and the restaurateur Cristina Sanmartín.

The cenotes are of great relevance in the biodiversity, since they are a habitat that harbors a great amount of fauna, SEDUMA said.

Among the species found fossilized in this body of water are peregrine falcon, T’oh bird and spiny iguana. 

Source: SEDUMA press release

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