Wodnika

Name: Wodnika
Phonetic: Wod-nee-ka.
Named By: Georg Graf zu Münster‭ ‬-‭ ‬1843.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Chondrichthyes,‭ ‬Elasmobranchii,‭ ‬Ctenacanthiformes,‭ ‬Ctenacanthidae.
Species: W.‭ ‬striatula‭ (‬type‭) ‬W.‭ ‬borealis,‭ ‬W.‭ ‬ocoyae.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Approximately‭ ‬1‭ ‬meter long.
Known locations: Germany.‭ ‬England.
Time period: Wuchiapingian of the Permian to Anisian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Several specimens usually of the teeth and‭ ‬spines but complete impressions of the whole body are known.

       Also known as the Zechstein shark,‭ ‬Wodnika appears to have been very much like a modern day bullshark.‭ ‬In life Wodnika was a small shark that would have swam in the Zechstein Sea that covered much of northern Europe,‭ ‬where Wodnika likely patrolled near the bottom looking for prey like crustaceans.‭ ‬When found Wodnika would use its rounded teeth to crush the hard shells of its prey to get at the softer flesh within.‭
       Although a fossil specimen of the cartilaginous skeleton of Wodnika is known,‭ ‬the more common fossils are the aforementioned rounded teeth and the dorsal spines.‭ ‬These spines rose up in front of both the first and second dorsal fins,‭ ‬and while usually envisioned as support for these fins,‭ ‬they would have made Wodnika a difficult mouthful for any potential predators.‭ ‬Wodnika is also known to have had claspers,‭ ‬appendages on the underside of the shark for the purpose of sperm transfer in reproduction.‭ ‬This also allows for identification between males and females of the species as females lack these claspers.

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