Researchers found several fossils of the skull bones and an almost complete skeleton of an ancient species of shark, captured in the rocks of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, a discovery that the same researchers claim to have been stunned by. A study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B describes this shark (Phoebodus saidselachus), which lived more than 350 million years ago and for which no bone marks were found because the latter were made of soft cartilage rather than hard bone, so it is much more reluctant to petrify.

The mountainous area in which these remains were found was once a large shallow sea basin. The remains were found in a layer between 360 and 370 million years ago, the period of the famous Devon at the end of August.

The shark had a cone-shaped body, almost in the shape of an eel, and a pronounced muzzle, characteristics that could make it look like a modern curly shark (Chlamydoselachus, also called a collar shark or a fringe shark), a shark that today is often found in deep waters and represents various “primitive” features, for which they are also known as “living fossils.”

To confirm the thesis that the two sharks may be similar to each other, there are also teeth: Febod and the coiled shark are very similar, given that they both have a cone shape and are rotated inward, significantly different from the classic sharp teeth and serrated today’s sharks. Among other things, it also indicates that they ate more or less the same thing.

Researchers believe that Febodus himself is a close relative of Thrinacodus graciae, a variety of coal shark.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2019.1336

https://rs.figshare.com/articles/Supplementary_material_from_The_early_elasmobranch_i_Phoebodus_i_phylogenetic_relationships_ecomorphology_and_a_new_time-scale_for_shark_evolution/9918260