In a coal mine near Volgograd, scientists discovered the fossilized jaw of helicopryon, a shark-like Paleozoic fish. This type of predator, which lived on Earth millions of years before the dinosaurs, is distinguished by a frightening dental spiral on the lower jaw.
A fossilized dental helix of a helicopryon was found in one of the mines in Volgograd.
The species was first described by Alexander Karpinsky in 1899. The study was based on a dental spiral found in the Perm province. The academician suggested that the spiral was located on the nose of the fish. In our time, it was possible to establish: the teeth grew on the lower jaw, which partially hid the “dental factory”.
The jaw of helicopryon is one of the most mysterious fossils of the late Paleozoic.
Reconstructed image of a prehistoric predator
According to American professor Leif Tapanila, about 270 million years ago, helicopryon was the largest predator on Earth.
Professor Igor Novikov of the Moscow Paleontological Institute said that the dental helix is one of the most mysterious fossils of the late Paleozoic.
A rare find is kept in the Krasnoufimsky Museum of Local Lore.
It is a series of sharp blade teeth with a common spiral root. When the jaw was closed, the teeth protruded forward, allowing the predator to easily deal with soft-bodied creatures, such as squid.
The prehistoric ancestor of sharks reached 7.5 m in length and weighed almost half a ton, which made him the largest inhabitant of the sea
Using computed tomography, Leif Tapanila, together with a group of scientists, obtained a three-dimensional image of the jaws of helicopryon
The study showed how the jaws closed, how the animal looked and ate. Curiously, there were no teeth in the upper jaw. Scientists have concluded that helicopryon is more closely related to chimeras than sharks.