Santa Fe, New Mexico (AP) — A 300 million year old shark tooth was the first sign that it could be a separate species.
The ancient chopper did not look like a row of spear-like teeth of the associated species. They were squatter and short, less than an inch long, about 2 centimeters.
John Paul Hodnett, a graduate student when he unearthed the first fossil shark in an eastern bargain in Albuquerque in 2013, said, “It’s perfect for grabbing and crushing prey rather than piercing it. That’s it. “
This week, Hodnet and many other researchers announced their findings in the newsletter of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, which identifies sharks as another species.
He named it the 6.7-foot (2 meter) monster Dracopristishoffmanorum or Hoffman’s Dragon Shark in honor of the New Mexico family who own the land of the Manzano Mountains where the fossils were found. According to Hodnet, the area is full of fossils and is easily accessible for quarries and other commercial drilling operations.
The name is also reminiscent of the dragon-like jawline and 2.5-foot (0.75 m) fin spines that inspired the first nickname of the discovery, “Godzilla Shark.”
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The official naming announcement followed seven years of excavation, preservation and research.
For example, the 12 rows of teeth in the lower jaw of a shark were still obscured by a layer of sediment after excavation. Hodnet saw them only by using the technique of angled light that illuminates the objects below.
Hodnett is currently a paleontologist and program coordinator for the National Capital Parks of Maryland and the Dinosaur Park of the Planning Commission in Laurel, Maryland. His fellow researchers come from the Museum of New Mexico, St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania, Northern Arizona University, and Idaho State University.
The recovered fossil skeleton is considered to be the most complete of its evolutionary branches, cartilaginous fish, which split from modern sharks and rays about 390 million years ago and became extinct about 60 million years later. Has been done.
At that time, eastern New Mexico was covered by sea routes that extended deep into North America. Hodnet and his colleagues believe that Hoffman’s dragon sharks probably live in shallow coastal waters, stalking prey like crustaceans, fish and other sharks.
The high desert plateaus of New Mexico have also produced fossils of many dinosaurs, including various types of tyrannosaurus that roamed land that was a rainforest millions of years ago.
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