A massive prehistoric shark fossil was discovered in a Duck Creek formation in Texas and it’s a monstrosity in time. This fossil appeared to belong to a shark that lived in the shallow waters surrounding Texas, over a hundred million years prior.
Paleontologists Discover Monstrous Prehistoric Shark
It was discovered by a group belonging to the Paleontology Club of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. How’s that for extracurricular activities? It was 2009 when these students took a trip to the Duck Creek Formation near Forth Worth, Texas. The Duck Creek Formation has been the site at which many Cretaceous Period fossils have been found in the past. It stretches toward Oklahoma.
The fossils included vertebrae of the shark, indicating it at about 20 feet long at the minimum, and about 100 to 105 million years old. To compare, contemporary great white sharks are generally 15 feet long.
Monstrous Size of Shark of Great Interest
The study on this massive prehistoric shark was published in the PLOS One journal by Joseph Frederickson and Janessa Doucette-Frederickson, a couple who attend University of Oklahoma as graduate students, and their colleague Scott Schaefer. These paleontologists studied other large prehistoric shark fossils found in Kansas from the same period. Frederkson postured that they must have lived alongside one another.
These paleontologists also state in their research paper that this fossil comes from one of the biggest predators of all time. They believe that these prehistoric shark fossils belonged to a 145 million year old prehistoric shark called Leptostyrax macrorhiza. The biggest issue is that without having found its teeth, identification can not be confirmed.
Identifying The Prehistoric Shark
Kenshu Shimada a paleobiologist from DePaul University in Chicago, disagrees, believing that the fossils did not belong to leptostyrax macrorhiza. Shimada believes the fossil belonging to another extinct shark, one who is not yet recognized in the fossil record.
Whether Shimada or University of Oklahoma’s paleontologists are wrong or right, this prehistoric shark fossil gives researchers and the world a new take regarding the new topic of of shark evolution, particularly the monsters of the early Cretaceous era.
Feature photo courtesy of Natural History Museum, UK