Carcharocles/Carcharodon angustidens

While the species is valid,‭ ‬the genus this shark belongs too is disputed,‭ ‬refer to the main text for details.

Name: Carcharocles/Carcharodon angustidens.
Phonetic: Kar-ka-roe-clees/Kar-ka-roe-don an-gus-tee-denz.
Named By: Louis Agassiz‭ ‬-‭ ‬1843.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Chondrichthyes,‭ ‬Elasmobranchii,‭ ‬Lamniformes.
Species: C.‭ ‬angustidens.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Estimated at up to‭ ‬9.3‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Worldwide.
Time period: Priabonian of the Eocene to Aquitanian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Usually just the teeth,‭ ‬but occasionally vertebra as well.

       C.‭ ‬angustidens is a species belonging to the Carcharocles genus of‭ '‬megatoothed sharks‭'‬.‭ ‬However some researchers do think that C.‭ ‬angustidens should be placed within the Carcharodon genus that includes the modern day great white shark.‭ ‬Supporters of C.‭ ‬angustidens placement within Carcharocles point to a clear transition of evolving teeth that run from Otodus to C.‭ ‬angustidens to C.‭‬megalodon.‭ ‬However well preserved C.‭ ‬angustidens fossils from New Zealand show stronger similarities to the great white shark that are clearer than in previous fossils.‭ ‬This is why C.‭ ‬angustidens gets placed in either the Carcharocles or Carcharodon depending upon the source.‭ ‬This dispute of classification also exists for C.‭ ‬megalodon,‭ Carcharocles‭ ‬auriculatus and Carcharocles‭ ‬chubutensis.
       Returning to the New Zealand specimen mentioned above,‭ ‬this collection of fossils comprised of one-hundred and sixty-five teeth as well as‭ ‬thirty-five vertebral centrum‭ ‬which are thought to be from the same individual.‭ ‬This is a surprisingly good fossil haul for a megatoothed shark,‭ ‬and their study yielded a size estimate of just over nine meters for the individual.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬other more scattered remains hint that C.‭ ‬angustidens may have grown even larger than this estimate.‭ ‬Still even at a more conservative nine meters C.‭ ‬angustidens would still be one and half times bigger than the largest recorded great white shark.
       The large size of C.‭ ‬angustidens means that it would have been a powerful pelagic predator that was only rivalled by other large sharks and large raptorial sperm whales such as Brygmophyseter.‭ ‬As a full grown adult C.‭ ‬angustidens probably hunted small to medium sized cetaceans such as dolphins and small whales.‭ ‬Smaller juveniles may have been more generalist however,‭ ‬their smaller size making it easier for them to take fish and smaller marine mammals.
       The teeth of C.‭ ‬angustidens are roughly triangular with serrated edges.‭ ‬The teeth also usually display small cusps at the base of the serrated edges,‭ ‬a feature that was more pronounced in the ancestors of C.‭ ‬angustidens,‭ ‬but would disappear in later megatoothed sharks.

Further reading
- An Associated Specimen of Carcharodon angustidens (chondrichthyes, lamnidae) From the late oligocene of new zealand, with comments on Carcharodon Interrelationships. - Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 21 (4): 730–739. - M. D. Gottfried & R. E. Fordyce - 2001.


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