The submerged continental shelf of Onslow Bay, North Carolina, preserves hardbottom limestone scarps with underlying clays as small isolated exposures in progressively deeper water seaward from the modern-day shoreline. These scarps formed as a result of wave- and current-driven erosion, transport, and redeposition of bottom sediments due to glacioeustactic sea level cyclicity and the migration of the ancestral shoreline since the Pliocene. Fossiliferous lag deposits containing an abundance of lamniform and carcharhiniform teeth, including those belonging to megatoothed sharks, occur adjacent to these scarps. These specimens include teeth from: Alopias grandis, Carcharhinus falciformis, Carcharhinus priscus, Carcharias cf. C. taurus, Carcharodon carcharias, Carcharodon hastalis, Galeocerdo aduncus, Galeocerdo cuvier, Hemipristis serra, Isurus oxyrinchus, Negaprion brevirostris, Otodus chubutensis, Otodus megalodon, Parotodus benedinii, Physogaleus contortus, and Rhizoprionodon sp. Comparison of biostratigraphically significant lamniform and carcharhiniform taxa from the submerged shelf with those from land-based assemblages along the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the USA indicates that the shallower shelf (≈25 m deep) exposes the Miocene Pungo River Formation and intermediate and deeper shelf (≈30–35 m deep) expose the Pliocene Yorktown Formation. Many of the Onslow Bay lamniforms and carcharhiniforms also occur in Miocene and Pliocene shallow marine assemblages around the world and reinforce the migratory abilities of these chondrichthyans in the late Cenozoic and the utility of lamniform and carcharhiniform teeth in biostratigraphic and chronostratigraphic analyses.
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Vol. 106 • No. 2