Named By: Louis Agassiz - 1843.
Classification: Chordata, Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii, Lamniformes.
Species: O. obliquus (type), O. isoelicus.
Size: Approximately 9 meters long.
Known locations: Worldwide.
Time period: Selandian of the Paleocene through to the Bartonian of the Eocene.
Fossil representation: Teeth and vertebral centra.
was bigger than any other carnivorous
fish in the sea
today, being one and half times bigger than the largest recorded
great white shark. This large size however does not mean that Otodus
was an apex predator as it would have had to share the seas with other
predators such as Basilosaurus,
an eighteen metre long predatory
whale that looked more like an ancient mosasaur. Still, Otodus
would have been able to hold its ground against most other predators
and could have taken everything from large fish to smaller mammals.
Otodus disappears from the fossil record in the mid Eocene when the megatoothed sharks like Carcharocles auriculatus began appearing. Many researchers think the megatoothed sharks actually evolved from Otudus. Evidence for this comes from the teeth of both Otodus and C. auriculatus having tooth cusps rising up from the root, as well as some Otodus teeth showing the early signs of serrations forming on their edges. There has also been suggestion from some researchers that Otodus is ancestral to the giant shark species megalodon, and that megalodon itself represent a late surviving species of Otodus and should be placed within the genus.
- Recherches Sur Les Poissons Fossiles. Tome III (livr. 15-16). - Imprimérie de Petitpierre, Neuchatel 157-390. - L. Agassiz - 1843.
- A new elusive otodontid shark (Lamniformes: Otodontidae) from the lower Miocene, and comments on the taxonomy of otodontid genera, including the 'megatoothed' clade. - Historical Biology. 29 (5): 704–714. - K. Shimada, R. E. Chandler, O. L. T. lam, T. Tanaka & D. J. Ward - 2016.