On Monday of this week, I was fortunate to make several interesting fossil finds along the shores of Lake Alajuela, in Chagres National Park. The water levels were very low, which facilitated the finding of vertebrate fossils by exposing the correct sediments which they can be found in. Less than 30 minutes into the field day, I came across a chunk of fossil turtle, and after some digging, realized that there was a lot more turtle there. After working on the turtle for a while, I started walking along the exposed banks of the lakeshore, following the fossiliferous sediments.
I walked for much further than I had expected to be able to, given the low lake levels and large amount of exposed outcrop; then I found something really neat. The lake water was nearly lapping the fossil itself, so I decided to collect it in case the water levels rose or a wave came by unexpectedly and washed it away. It was a beautifully-preserved Carcharocles megaladon tooth. Certainly not a big one by any means for a “meg” (especially compared to the hand-sized behemoths that can be found in Florida creeks), but still a large shark tooth nonetheless. It was an exciting moment, finding my very first “meg” tooth in Panama. Hopefully I can find more on my return trips to Lake Alajuela this summer before the end of the internship!