Fossil Shark in Fossil Shark - Shark Cannibalism

Paratriakis curtirostris

Class Chondrichthyes, Order Galeiformes, Family Triakidae

Geological Time: Middle Cretaceous, Middle Cenomanian Stage (~95 mya)

Size: 170 mm in length

Fossil Site: Lebanese Lagerstatt, Hakel, Lebanon

ParatriakisDescription: Here is a fine shark from the Cretaceous sublithographic limestone deposits of Lebanon. Since most of the skeleton of a shark is cartilage, preservation of such details as seen here are uncommon. The fins and basic body outline have also been preserved in wonderful detail. Notice the rough nature of the skin, the result of preservation of some of the denticles (‘little teeth”). Many cartilaginous fish have denticles in the skin; indeed, true teeth may have evolved from them in the dim past. The denticles of sharks are quite abrasive; sharkskin (shagreen) has been used by some as a substitute for sandpaper. The most unusual feature of this fossil is revealed in the close-up of the interior of the specimen. There is a partial vertebral column of a SECOND, smaller individual which served as the shark’s last meal.

Fossil sharks are rare. Fossil fish within fish fossils are very rare. That would make a shark in shark fossil exhibiting cannibalism in sharks possibly unprecidented. The genus Paratriakis is extinct, but has a relative in the modern-day dogfish Triakis.

Also see: Class Chondrichthyes Fish Fossils

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