"it is an unusual shark in that it has a spiral dentition."
January 27, 2010 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Meet Edestus Giganteus and Helicoprion. The Edestidae family of sharks had a single row of teeth in the upper and lower jaws, creating, in effect, a scissors. Helicoprion's teeth grew in a buzz-saw shaped whorl in the lower jaw! Both sharks are known only from their fossil teeth, leading to mystery and detective work.

Nature is awesome.
posted by peachfuzz (10 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

oh also bonus:

- excellent sciencey drawings from Ray Troll, including great shark illustrations and the Evolvovision
posted by peachfuzz at 10:24 AM on January 27, 2010

peachfuzz: "Nature is awesome. "

posted by brundlefly at 10:54 AM on January 27, 2010

I'm not understanding the evolutionary advantage in that tooth placement; it suggests to me that the shark is trying to trap live prey in its throat instead of chewing it to death. Unless its for gripping friggen lasers (you know every other shark modeled in the current era has a duplicate depiction with friggen lasers on its head).
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:39 AM on January 27, 2010

Is it just me, or does "Helicoprion" sound like something that would fly over our heads, dropping loads of diseased poo on everyone?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:16 PM on January 27, 2010

I saw one display on Helicoprion at the Field Museum in Chicago a couple years back; it blew my mind to the point that every so often I just try looking it up online again just to look at it and go "kewl."

Coincidentally yesterday was one such instance.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:30 PM on January 27, 2010

This is so awesome I can't even believe it. Thanks for the post.
posted by KathrynT at 4:26 PM on January 27, 2010

Yeah. This post deserves more comments and more faves. Then again, I'm partial to paleo posts.
posted by brundlefly at 4:56 PM on January 27, 2010

Ahh, brundlefly, I think it was the terrible during-the-iPad-presser timing. Thanks, though!

I was so astonished when I saw Helicoprion's jaw for the first time. The craziest part is, the teeth at the inside of the whorl are the oldest ones - old teeth don't get pushed out, like with modern sharks. It's basically a giant ingrown toenail. WTF, evolution?
posted by peachfuzz at 7:02 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

You know, every so often I look at a monster, say, from Pikachu, or 50's monster movies, or some kid's imagination, and think, "Geesh! How stupid! Like that thing could exist... Physically impossible; evolutionarily unachievable; too heavy/lopsided/fragile/purple."

And then I see some new abomination from deep undersea, or the ancient past, and suddenly a spinning, flying, jet-powered, intelligent Gamera doesn't seem quite so unrealistic after all.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:16 AM on January 28, 2010

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