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Prehistoric Shark That Could Reach 22 Feet and Ate Its Siblings in the Womb Discovered in Kansas

An enormous new species of prehistoric shark has been found in Kansas, with scientists reporting how the predator may have grown over 22 ft in size and that its younger would cannibalize their siblings whereas nonetheless in the womb.

Kenshu Shimada, from Chicago’s DePaul University, and Michael J. Everhart, from Fort Hays State University in Kansas, recognized the new species from 134 tooth, 61 vertebrae, scales and calcified cartilage discovered in rocks in the Carlile Formation. The stays date to the Late Cretaceous interval, between 66 and 100 million years in the past. At this time, North America was break up in two by an historical waterway, often known as the Western Interior Seaway.

The species belongs to the genus Cretodus, of which there have been 4 recognized species. The newly found predator has been named C. houghtonorum and particulars of its discovery have been printed in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology in November.

“This new shark differs from all other known species in the genus by having a distinct array of teeth that are uniquely shaped,” Everhart stated in a press release. “Our analysis showed that the teeth of this shark are measurably different (size and shape) from any other known species of Cretodus and that justified the naming of the new species.”

C. houghtonorum was a big species, Shimada and Everhart say, with the particular person discovered estimated to be nearly 17-foot lengthy. However, their evaluation additionally confirmed the species seemingly grew as much as 22.four ft. Their specimen died when it was about 22 years previous, however they imagine the species may dwell to 51.

The scientists stated new child sharks belonging to this species could be about 3.eight ft, and that this “large size at birth” means that—like many shark species residing at this time—embryos would cannibalize their siblings whereas in the womb. This, the researchers say, exhibits the conduct had advanced by the Late Cretaceous.

The C. houghtonorum fossils have been discovered close to the dorsal fins of a hybodont, in addition to the tooth of squalicorax. Both of those have been smaller species of shark, with the latter reaching about 6.5 ft in size on common. Based on the situation of those stays, Shimada and Everhart counsel that C. houghtonorum died shortly after consuming the hybodont, and then the squalicorax got here alongside and ate the bigger shark’s carcass.

Shimada and Everhart additionally word how C. houghtonorum would seemingly have lived alongside Cretoxyrhina mantelli, considered one of the largest sharks of the Late Cretaceous. This species may develop over 24 ft in size and would have been an apex predator of the time.

Shimada and Everhart imagine the two species would have been in a position to dwell collectively by using totally different environments—C. houghtonorum close to the coast, and C. mantelli in deeper, offshore waters “possibly representing a case of resource partitioning between the two species,” the researchers concluded.

Prehistoric Shark That Could Reach 22 Feet and Ate Its Siblings in the Womb Discovered in Kansas
Representative picture of a shark. The prehistoric shark discovered in Kansas may attain as much as 22 ft in size, scientists say. iStock

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