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Researchers have identified a novel type of shark in Alabama possessing sharp, needle-shaped teeth and rising to the top of the food chain in the aftermath of the dinosaurs’ demise.
The creature, known as Palaeohypotodus bizzocoi, existed approximately 65 million years ago, during the era after a catastrophic event that eliminated over 75% of Earth’s living beings, including the dinosaurs.
Scientists have determined that the shark variety possessing slender, needle-shaped fangs located on the edges of its teeth was the dominant predator during the post-extinction ocean recovery period.
According to paleontologist Lynn Harrell, the discovery of sharks like this one provides valuable information on the recovery of ocean life after significant extinction events. It also gives us the opportunity to predict the potential impact of current global events, such as climate change, on marine life.
In the Paleocene era, which spans a certain period of time, researchers state that a significant portion of the southern region of Alabama was submerged in a shallow ocean with tropical or sub-tropical characteristics.
There has been an increase in shark attacks globally, with scientists investigating the cause.
Scientists recently found new information while examining more than twelve fossilized shark teeth, which were gathered over a century ago in Wilcox County and stored at the Geological Survey in Alabama.
The collection of teeth consisted of nine from the top row and eight from the bottom row, with a few featuring either one or two sets of sharp teeth, known as fangs or cusplets.
Researchers examined the ancient teeth and compared them to the teeth of different present-day sharks, including Great Whites and Makos. They determined that the teeth belonged to a previously unknown species that existed during the Paleocene era.
Dr. Harrell stated that the current time frame has not been thoroughly researched, making the identification of this new species of shark even more significant.
The scientists also analyzed the teeth of the prehistoric creature and demonstrated that its tooth pattern was distinct from any living shark.
The species has been designated as P bizzocoi in honor of Bruce Bizzoco (1949-2022), a Birmingham archaeologist who was previously a Dean at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa.
According to recent research, Alabama may have had an abundance of marine life in ancient times, with over 400 different species of fossil sharks and bony fish found in the area. This suggests that the region was one of the most diverse marine environments in the world.