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Still Waters

Well-preserved fossil of Jurassic-era shark

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Still Waters

An international team of paleontologists from Austria and Switzerland has uncovered an exceptionally well-preserved skeleton of Asteracanthus ornatissimus, a species of hybodontiform shark that lived about 150 million years ago (Jurassic period), in the famous limestones of Solnhofen in Germany.

"Hybodontiform sharks are the closest relatives of modern sharks and rays,” said University of Vienna’s Dr. Sebastian Stumpf and colleagues.

“They first appeared in the latest Devonian, about 361 million years ago, survived two of the big five Phanerozoic mass extinction events, and finally became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, about 66 million years ago.”

“These sharks had two dorsal fins, each supported by a prominent fin spine.”


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