Carcharodon hubbelli
a.k.a.‭ ‬Hubbell’s white shark

Name: Carcharodon hubbelli.
Phonetic: Car-kah-ro-don hub-bel-li.
Named By: D.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Ehret,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬MacFadden,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬S.‭ ‬Jones,‭ ‬T.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬DeVries,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Foster‭ & ‬R.‭ ‬Salas-Gismondi.‭ ‬2012.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Chondrichthyes,‭ ‬Elasmobranchii,‭ ‬Lamniformes,‭ ‬Lamnidae,‭ ‬Carcharodon.
Species: C.‭ ‬hubbelli.
Diet: Carnivore/Piscivore.
Size: Unavailable.
Known locations: Peru‭ ‬-‭ ‬Piscoe Formation.
Time period: Messinian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Complete set of jaws including‭ ‬222‭ ‬teeth.‭ ‬45‭ ‬vertebrae.

       First discovered by a Peruvian farmer in‭ ‬1988,‭ ‬the holotype remains of Carcharodon hubbelli were subsequently acquired by a collector named Gordon Hubbel.‭ ‬Over twenty years later in December‭ ‬2009,‭ ‬Hubbel donated the remains to the University of Florida.‭ ‬An initial description of the remains was subsequently written up,‭ ‬but the problem with this study was that the age estimate of the Piscoe Formation from where the remains were recovered was questionable.‭ ‬Using maps drawn up by Hubbel,‭ ‬a research team located the site of the original discovery in Peru and then by a process of strontium isotope testing determined the true age of the Piscoe Formation.‭ ‬This saw the age estimate for the remains change from Pliocene to earlier Late Miocene in age.‭ ‬In‭ ‬2012‭ ‬a more complete study‭ (‬Ehret et al‭) ‬was published formally describing the remains as a new species of the Carcharodon genus.‭ ‬The species name C.‭ ‬hubbelli was in honour of the collector and donator of the remains Gordon Hubbel.‭
       As a new species of the Carcharodon genus Carcharodon hubbelli was in essence an extinct relative of the famous modern day great white shark,‭ ‬Carcharodon carcharias.‭ ‬More than this though the teeth of Carcharodon hubbelli are not just similar to those of the great white shark,‭ ‬they are also similar to those of broad toothed mako sharks of the Isurus genus.‭ ‬The transitional form of the teeth of Carcharodon hubbelli therefore seems to suggest that great white shark has its ancestry stemming from mako sharks.‭ ‬It should be realised though that Carcharodon hubbelli is not yet a perfect fit for this lineage.‭ ‬The type remains of Carcharodon hubbelli are late Miocene in age,‭ ‬roughly just over five to seven million years old.‭ ‬Great white shark fossils by contrast are known to go back to the mid Miocene some sixteen million years ago.‭ ‬However this observation in itself does not detract from the significance of the discovery,‭ ‬since the first individual Carcharodon hubbelli known to us may have been from a late surviving population.‭ ‬After all it is quite common for some overlap,‭ ‬even by millions of years to exist amongst related forms.
       If the interpretation of Carcharodon hubbelli is correct and the great white sharks evolved from‭ ‬makos,‭ ‬then this would effectively clear up one of the biggest debates in shark palaeontology which has lasted for some one hundred and fifty years.‭ ‬This is the idea that the modern day great white shark was descended from the infamous‭ ‘‬megatoothed sharks‭’‬,‭ ‬such as the monstrous C.‭ ‬megalodon.‭ ‬For a long time the megatoothed sharks were included within the Carcharodon genus but a few other researchers kept on pointing out key differences between the shape and form of the megatoothed shark teeth,‭ ‬and those of the great white.‭ ‬Eventually these researchers established a new genus name,‭ ‬Carcharocles,‭ ‬to house megatoothed shark species,‭ ‬including C.‭ ‬megalodon,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬angustidens,‭ ‬C.‭ ‬chubutensis and C.‭ ‬auriculatus.‭ ‬Others however kept on insisting that the original interpretation of the megatoothed sharks should be within Carcharodon,‭ ‬and so decades of debate and confusion as both genera were used ensued.‭ ‬We are however fairly certain that mako sharks were separate from the megatoothed sharks,‭ ‬and if a lineage between makos and the modern great whites can be firmly established,‭ ‬then this would actually validate the Carcharocles genus and the inclusion of megatoothed sharks within in it.
       Carcharodon hubbelli is known by fairly well‭ ‬preserved‭ ‬complete remains including teeth and vertebrae.‭ ‬This is significant in itself because ninety-nine per cent of the time,‭ ‬fossil sharks are only represented by teeth.‭ ‬Vertebrae are occasionally found since the cartilage that originally makes them up is usually more ossified and therefore more likely to survive until fossilisation.‭ ‬Even rarer than this are soft tissue preservations such as impressions upon the rocks surrounding teeth and vertebrae.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Origin of the white shark Carcharodon‭ (‬Lamniformes:‭ ‬Lamnidae‭) ‬based on recalibration of the upper Neogene Pisco Formation of Peru‭ ‬-‭ ‬Palaeontology‭ ‬55‭(‬6‭)‬:1139-1153‭ ‬-‭ ‬D.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Ehret,‭ ‬B.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬MacFadden,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬S.‭ ‬Jones,‭ ‬T.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬DeVries,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Foster‭ & ‬R.‭ ‬Salas-Gismondi.‭ ‬2012.


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