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Mesacanthus Pusillus


Price: £120.00

Availability: In Stock

Genus: Mesacanthus

Location of Discovery: Orkney, Scotland, UK, Europe

Time Period: Devonian; 400-380MYA

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Item Description:

Mesacanthus is an extinct species of acanthodian shark from early Devonian Scotland, approximately 385 million years ago. These sharks are evolutionarily significant being one of the first jawed vertebrate species in natural history. The genus Mesacanthus was at the dawn of the shark lineage, being the most primitive acanthodian whose ancestors would include Otodus, the Great White and the famed Megalodon. Although smaller than Megalodon teeth, Mesacanthus were feared predators of the Devonian era, the so called “Age of Fishes” when fish dominated the seas and plants started to colonise the land. Anatomically, Mesacanthus had pectoral, pelvic, anal and dorsal fin spines, as well as a pair of prepelvics (intermediate spines between the pectoral and pelvic fin spines) The name Mesacanthus translates to 'middle spine' which holds importance as these spines acted as biological defence mechanisms, advanced faunal features for the epoch. Additionally, their epidermis were covered with tiny rhomboid platelets like the scales of modern gar fish. This is of paleobiological interest as it contrasts further evolved sharks which possess no scales. The genus also has a distinct tail in which the upper lobe extends to a sharp point and the lower lobe forms a small triangle. The genus is found in both Lower Old Red Sandstone and Middle Old Red Sandstone assemblages in Scotland. This geological landscape was once part of the Orcadian Basin, a huge complex of lakes stretching hundreds of miles where Mesacanthus could swim and hunt. Please Note: Our shark fossils have different shipping arrangements to our reptile fossils.

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