Helicoprion, the Prehistoric Shark with a Unique 360-Degree Spiral of Teeth

image

A rare fossil of a prehistoric monster-fish’s spiral of chainsaw-like teeth has been found in Russia.

The scary Helicoprion was an extinct ancestor of the modern-day ghost shark or ratfish with an impressive set of nashers – that lived millions of years before the dinosaurs.

Discovered in an open coal mine in Volgograd, southern Russia, the latest example of the cartilaginous fish shows a fossilised arsenal of radial murder-teeth.

image

The fossilised tooth spiral of a Helicoprion was discovered in an open coal mine in Volgograd, Russia

image

Scientists check the fossil of Helicoprion tooth spiral. They claim it is ‘one of the most mysterious fossils of the late Paleozoic era’

Some 270 million years ago the Helicoprion was the largest predator on Earth, according to US professor Leif Tapanila.

Professor Igor Novikov, of Moscow’s Paleontological Institute, said the circular or buzz saw shaped tooth spiral is ‘one of the most mysterious fossils of the late Paleozoic era.’

He said: ‘It has a series of sharp teeth-blades with a common spiral-coiled root with numerous (dozens of) teeth.

image

Reconstruction of the appearance of Helicoprion. Scientists believe it used its razor teeth to snarl up soft-bodied prey like prehistoric squid

‘The teeth had serrated sharpening and when closing the jaws – it turned forward, which allowed the fish to effectively interact with the surface of the prey.’

The razor teeth snarled up soft-bodied prey like prehistoric squid.

Like 96 per cent of species at the time the Helicoprion is thought to have fallen victim to the mass extinction, the biggest in the world’s history, that brought the Permian era to an end around 252 million years ago.

image

Fossilised tooth spiral of Helicoprion kept in Krasnoufimsk Museum of Local History, near the place where the first fossilised spiral was found

The fish was first described by Russian scientist Alexander Karpinsky in 1899 from a fossil discovered near Krasnoufimsk.

Scientists were for a long time baffled over the fish, for a time thinking the Helicoprion’s murder teeth were fixed to an elephant-like trunk appendage.

In fact, it is now established that the teeth grew inside the fish’s lower jaw like a ‘partly concealed tooth factory,’ reported Scientific American.

HOW DID SCIENTISTS WORK OUT WHAT THE HELICOPRION LOOKED LIKE?

image

The 25ft monster ‘shark’ with chainsaw teeth that roamed the prehistoric seas 270 million years ago was first ‘pictured’ by scientists in 2013.

The bizarre fish Helicoprion, an early ancestor of sharks, had a conveyor belt of jagged teeth that spiralled out of its lower jaw and ripped prey to shreds.

Using state of the art scanners to create 3-D virtual reconstructions of its jaws, researchers discovered what the ancient beast would have looked like as it homed in on marine animals.

Located at the back, the teeth were ‘saw-like’ with the jaw creating a rolling back and slicing mechanism.

image

Helicoprion, an early ancestor of sharks, had a conveyor belt of jagged teeth that spiralled out of its lower jaw and ripped prey to shreds

Professor Leif Tapanila, of Idaho State University, said: ‘We were able to answer where the set of teeth fit in the animal.

‘They fit in the back of the mouth, right next to the back joint of the jaw.

‘We were able to refute it might have been located at the front of the jaw.’

The creature, unlike any shark alive today, grew up to twenty-five feet in length and weighed almost half a ton (71 stone), making it the biggest fish in the sea.

image

Professor Leif Tapanila, of Idaho State University, used state of the art scanners to create 3-D virtual reconstructions of its jaws

The large ‘spiral’ fossils of teeth are all that remain from the hundred specimens found around the world as its skeleton was made of cartilage, just like its modern descendants, which does not preserve well.

Helicoprion’s appearance has long mystified scientists because no one could work out how these teeth, which resemble a spiral saw blade, fit into it.

image

Geoscientist Prof Tapanila said: ‘CT (computerised tomography) scans of a unique specimen from Idaho show the spiral of teeth within the jaws of the animal, giving new information on what the animal looked like, and how it ate.’

Findings, published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, are based on firm evidence fed into computers at his special virtualization laboratory.

The beast is more closely related to ratfish than sharks.

image

The 3D models created by the team show how the ‘spiral’ teeth fitted in the head of the animal

Both species have cartilage, rather than bone, but are classified differently.

It was always assumed the Helicoprion was a shark, but it is more closely related to ratfish, a Holocephala.

image

The main thing it has in common with sharks is the structure of its teeth, everything else is Holocephalan.

Rocks in southeastern Idaho have preserved the largest, most abundant and pristine specimens of Helicoprion many of which include the lower jaw cartilage, teeth and rare impressions of skin.

Other remains have been found in Utah and Wyoming when these regions were covered in sea more than 250 million years ago.

image

The terrifying 25 foot long prehistoric shark with a ‘spiral’ of teeth that worked like a chainsaw

Related Posts

Archaeological Revelation: Unearthing a 230-Million-Year-Old “Hybrid” Creature Between Crocodile and Bird

Αt the eпd of the Trіassіc рeriod, the lапd of whаt іs пow the ѕtate of Wyomіпg of the Uпіted Stаtes exіsted а ѕtraпge beаst wіth а рarrot-like beаk, а dіпosaυr body. It wаs паmed Beeѕiiwo сooowυse, а пew ѕpecieѕ. The Beаst Jυѕt Αррeared іп ΑmerіcaThe …

Read more

Frozen Heritage: Unraveling the Enigma of Ötzi, the 5,300-Year-Old Icebound Man Preserved in Time

Iп 1991, two Germап hіkers ѕtυmbled υрoп а frozeп сorpse thаt hаd beeп іmmacυlately рreserved beпeаth the іce іп the Eаsterп Alрs for over fіve mіlleпіa. Sіпce the dіscovery, the 5300-yeаr-old mυmmy – kпowп аs “Iсemaп” or “Ötzі” – hаs рroveп а paleomicrobiological …

Read more

Echoes from the Past: Deciphering the Mystery of 80 Ancient Skeletons Found with Hands Raised Above Heads

Arсhaeologists hаve dіѕсovered 80 апсіeпt mаle ѕkeletoпѕ іп а bυrіаl ѕіte, dаtіпg bасk to the 7th сeпtυry BCE, іп the Fаlіro rіver deltа regіoп, ѕoυtherп Atheпѕ. The ѕkeletoпѕ were foυпd аrrапged wіth theіr hапdѕ tіed аbove theіr heаdѕ. A hyрotheѕіѕ ѕυggeѕtѕ …

Read more

Unraveling Mysteries: Exploring the Secrets of Ancient Egyptian Mummies

The mυmmy of Lаdy Rаi іs oпe of the oldeѕt kпowп mυmmіes υпсovered іп Egyрt. She wаs dіscovered іп 1881 апd reѕearcherѕ eѕtimate thаt ѕhe wаs аboυt 30 – 40 yeаrs old wheп ѕhe dіed аroυпd 1530 BC. From the wrіtіпgs left behіпd аboυt Lаdy Rаi, we kпow thаt …

Read more

The Tіmeless Sрlendor: Reveаling the Wonderѕ of Tutankhamun’s Tomb

In t𝚑𝚎 𝚑𝚎𝚊𝚛t 𝚘𝚏 t𝚑𝚎 v𝚊st E𝚐𝚢𝚙ti𝚊n 𝚍𝚎s𝚎𝚛t, 𝚋𝚎n𝚎𝚊t𝚑 l𝚊𝚢𝚎𝚛s 𝚘𝚏 s𝚊n𝚍 𝚊n𝚍 st𝚘n𝚎, l𝚊𝚢 𝚊 s𝚎c𝚛𝚎t w𝚊itin𝚐 t𝚘 𝚋𝚎 𝚞nc𝚘v𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚍. It w𝚊s 𝚊 s𝚎c𝚛𝚎t w𝚑is𝚙𝚎𝚛𝚎𝚍 t𝚑𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑 t𝚑𝚎 win𝚍s 𝚘𝚏 tim𝚎, 𝚊 m𝚢st𝚎𝚛𝚢 s𝚑𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚍𝚎𝚍 in t𝚑𝚎 𝚎ni𝚐m𝚊tic 𝚊𝚞𝚛𝚊 𝚘𝚏 𝚊nci𝚎nt E𝚐𝚢𝚙t. It w𝚊s t𝚑𝚎 t𝚘m𝚋 𝚘𝚏 T𝚞t𝚊nk𝚑𝚊m𝚞n, …

Read more

The Monumental Statue of Ramesses II

The Statue of Ramesses II is a giant sculpture of 12 meters high carved in the New Kingdom of Egypt, during the reign of Ramses II, Pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. FindingThe colossus was discovered in 1820 by the Italian traveler Giovanni …

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *