Check out the strangest prehistoric sharks that ever lived! From the biggest to the scariest, this top 10 list of prehistoric sea monsters will shock you!
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The first teeth of Hybodus were found in England in 1845. They decided to call this animal the Hybodus which means “Humped Tooth” because of their unique shape. They lived in the oceans between the Late Permian Period and the Late Cretaceous period- about 259 million to 66 million years ago. Almost 200 million years is an incredibly long time for a shark species to be around, with most only lasting for a tenth of that. It’s therefore thought to be one of the most effective shark species to have ever lived, particularly because it wasn’t the dominant predator at the time- it had to contest with much larger monsters like the Plesiosaurs and Mosasaurs.
The Hybodus sharks were very similar to today’s great whites, but a bit shorter. They were 6 feet long and weighed up to 200 pounds, which would make them just a bit bigger than an average human male. They were well adapted to the treacherous oceans because they actually had two sets of teeth. They preyed on fish, whales, and small marine animals- and their first set of teeth were used to tear them apart. Their second set of teeth, on the other hand, jutted out from their jaws- and it’s thought that these were used for defensive purposes against the much larger predators that they had to face!
The Scapanorhynchus is a prehistoric shark that resembles today’s Goblin sharks. They had a long protruding snout that is thought to have contained electrical sensors to help them hunt prey in the dark, deep waters in which they lived. Here, vision would be completely useless, but the snout’s ability to detect electrical impulses of other living organisms would allow the shark to hone in on them without much difficulty. Who needs eyes in the deep sea anyway?
Fossils have been found that suggest they grew to up to 10 feet long, but also as small as 20 inches. They are thought to have lived between the Aptian period and the early Paleogene period, which means from about 120 to about 70 million years ago. Their teeth were relatively big compared to the size of their bodies, but one particularly interesting physical characteristic was the formation of their fins. Their tail fin was much larger at the top than the bottom, which would suggest they weren’t very strong swimmers in open water. This shape is not very convenient which probably means that they would instead lurk near the ocean floor waiting for prey to swim nearby.
With fossil records of Mongolepis dating back to about 420 million years ago, it’s one of the earliest species of shark that existed, along with the Ele-gestol-epis and the Poly-mero-lepis. Very little is known about how these sharks lived, what they ate, or what they even looked like so I don't really have that many pictures for you!! In the meantime here is a random picture to keep you entertained!!
All that remains are extremely rare fossilized teeth, and even they are very different to those of the sharks that we see today.
By far the most unusual thing about the Mongolepis, though, is that they had scales. Modern day sharks have evolved with skin that is made from tooth like structures, known as placoid scales- but the scales of the most ancient sharks are far more similar to that of other fish. This further supports the idea that they were among the very first species of shark, because they would have only just begun to take a different evolutionary route to other types of fish that they shared the same ancestors with. Other than that, you have to kind of put your imagination to work to decide what they might have looked like.
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