Prehistoric Shark ‘Palaeohypotodus Bizzocoi’ Discovered in Alabama Had Tiny Fangs on Its Teeth [Study]

A prehistoric shark with its own “tiny fangs” has been discovered from fossils in Alabama, where it lived millions of years ago when the state was still covered by a shallow tropical ocean. The Alabama fossils show that the ancient shark roamed and dominated the seas after all non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago because of the Chicxulub asteroid strike. This is according to a new study led by researchers in the United States.

The new research paper determined that the 65-million-year-old fossil belonged to a new species of shark called Palaeohypotodus bizzocoi which belong to the genus Palaeohypotodus. Based on the study’s findings, the fossilized fangs of P. bizzocoi were determined to be sticking on either side of the shark’s main teeth, resembling vampire fangs (as seen in popular culture). The recent discovery took place in Alabama’s Wilcox County.

Prehistoric Shark Fangs

Prehistoric Shark 'Palaeohypotodus Bizzocoi' Discovered in Alabama Had Tiny Fangs on Its Teeth [Study]
(Photo : Photo by Laura College on Unsplash)

Findings about the prehistoric shark fangs in Alabama was published by researchers from the McWane Science Center, the South Carolina State Museum, and the University of Alabama in the journal Fossil Record on Wednesday, February 7. The study highlights an unusual tooth from a shark that lived in the Gulf Coastal plain 65 million years ago during the Paleocene geological epoch, which lasted 66 to 56 million years ago.

The ancient shark fangs were based on the historic collection of the Geological Survey of Alabama. Its collection includes several fossil shark specimens, which were recovered from the lower Paleocene Porters Creek Formation in southwestern Alabama. The new shark species was accidentally discovered from these specimens hidden in a box with the other shark teeth collected over a century ago.

The discovery confirms the existence of a fossil-rich area in Alabama. As a result, researchers of the recent study are hoping to find more fossils, including those from fish and shark species. Currently, P. bizzocoi, named after the Alabama archaeologist Bruce Bizzoco, has been viewed as a dominant predatory shark. But it has not been deemed as stronger or more powerful than the now-extinct megalodon (Otodus megalodon).

Also Read: Ancient Shark Teeth Explains Climate Shift on Antarctica

US Ancient Shark Discoveries

The discovery of Palaeohypotodus bizzocoi and its teeth with ‘vampire-like fangs’ follows the unearthing of a different new shark species in Kentucky last year. In October 2023, it was reported that the animal was a 350-million-year-old ancient scraper tooth shark that was identified at the state’s Mammoth Cave, the world’s largest known cave system, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

In 2019, researchers named a 91-million-year-old fossil shark in Kansas, which adds to the list of large dinosaur-era animals found in the US. The initial discovery and excavation of the new shark species dates back to 2010 at a ranch near Tipton, Kansas. Findings about the Kansas fossil shark was published by researchers from DePaul University in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology in November 2019.

Related Article: Megalodon Tooth: Ancient Shark’s Fossil Discovered in Underwater Mountain 10,000 Feet Beneath the Pacific Ocean

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