Monday, 22 February 2010

An Immense Cretaceous Shark

This Laelaps blog posting discusses an enormous fossil shark from the Cretaceous, and one of several interesting things is that it didn't have huge, scimitar-like teeth to slash your flesh, it had a pavement of crushing dentition, suggesting it ate shells.
A paper due to be published in the journal Cretaceous Research in April includes this reconstruction, based on a section of jaw, and with an adult human shown on the right, to give an idea of scale. No point providing a link to the actual paper, as you need a subscription to read it.

But at up to 11 metres in length, I have to ask what it was crushing with those gigantic gnashers. Modern shell-crushing sharks, like the Australian Port Jackson shark, I can imagine eating clams, oysters, etc., but this thing was so big, small prey like that would not have been worth its while.

Which does rather beg the question "So what, exactly, did it eat?"

No comments: