A CT scan of the newly discovered Godzilla shark revealed that the impressive predator, which lived 300 million years ago, had teeth on its lips.
The shark resembled the fictional Godzilla due to its back spines, teeth and other features. It must have left victims in a bloody mess before they went into its stomach.
“Unlike a lot of modern sharks, which can fully or partially suck in prey when they open their jaws, these primitive sharks had to ram their jaws into their prey,” John-Paul Hodnett, who discovered the shark in the Monzano Mountains east of Albuquerque, told Discovery News.
Hodnett is an independent researcher with institutional ties to Northern Arizona University and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. He explained that Godzilla shark was a ctenacanth, meaning a type of extinct shark that, as a group, existed for at least 130 million years.
“The jaws of ctenacanths and their close kin only go up and down which only makes for a weak ‘suck-in’ bite,” he said. “So having teeth on the outside of the lip of the shark may of helped in grasping and securing prey in the mouth as they rushed forward for the kill.”
“To put it simply, the extra teeth on the outside of the mouth gave Godzilla-shark a better bite with the jaws it had,” he added.
A few other primitive sharks also sported toothy lips. Akmonistion, which was a cousin species to ctenacanths, also had such a creepy “smile,” for example.
The closest modern parallel would be the sand tiger shark, but its extended teeth are not as extreme as those of Godzilla shark.
The CT scan also revealed the entire left side of what’s left of Godzilla shark’s face and some other anatomical details. In future, they will be used to create a 3D model of what this apex predator looked like in the flesh, so stay tuned!
Image: Recreation of Godzilla shark. Credit: Ray Troll, http://www.trollart.com/