Fossils found at the ancient city of Palenque, Chiapas shows Maya people conceived their beliefs of the underworld from them, associating the beliefs with water. To the Palenque, these fossils were convincing proof that the land was covered by the sea a long time ago, and from this they created their ideas on the origin of the world.
A three-year study by archaeologist Martha Cuevas and geologist Jesus Alvarado, was aimed at connecting the symbolism made by ancient Mayans to remains from Prehistoric times.
The interdisciplinary investigation, by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), concentrates on 31 specimens found at the Palenque Archaeological Zone which they believe are vital to the study of Maya cosmogony.
The 31 fossils discovered so far are from different periods, with the oldest from the Paleocene Era, nearly 63 million years ago. The fossils, from different marine animals and shark teeth and stingray spines, were used in ritual context during the Late Classic Period (600-850AD). Most often they are discovered in a funerary context: as part of funerary offerings, used by the Mayans as tombstones or offered to deities.