Helicoprion Had A Buzzsaw In Its Mouth

News: The Curiosity Podcast is here! Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud and RSS.

Helicoprion's tooth whorl filled its entire lower jaw; the fish had no upper teeth. Scientists theorize that it used its teeth much like a saw blade to slice through prey. It probably ate boneless animals, such as other cartilaginous fish and squid, which explains why fossilized tooth whorls don't exhibit too much wear. Earlier guesses as to where helicoprion's tooth whorl sat on its body ranged from nearly correct to humorously off-base, with some illustrations positioning the whorl on the fish's nose or fins.

Advertisement

Love getting smarter? Sign up to our newsletter and get our best content in your inbox!

Share the knowledge!

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Many helicoprion lived in the Phosphoria Sea, which covered what is now southeastern Idaho. 00:21

  2. See a 3D-printed model of the helicoprion's jaws and tooth whorl: 01:18

  3. Little wear has been found on fossilized helicoprion teeth, suggesting that they ate boneless prey such as squid. 01:50

Advertisement