STL Science Center

STL Science Center

01 March 2013

Ginsu; Not Just Knives

©Dan Varner (It is also the cover image of Oceans of Kansas)
When I was planning out February and March back in late November I knew that my birthday would fall in one of these weeks and I also knew that juxtaposing bony and cartilaginous fishes ("fishes" still sounds funny to me even though I have accepted its usage) would be beneficial for the reading audience. Bearing those two things in mind I decided, though I am a big fan of plesiosaurs and mosasaurs as well, that I would place one of my absolute favorite genera that I wanted to cover over my birthday week. Place the bony fish prior to the cartilaginous fish just made sense to me. Therefore, following the bony fish, and voracious eater, Xiphactinus, we see here the powerful and frightening shark Cretoxyrhina mantelli biting into a juvenile Tylosaurus.

Cretoxyrhina was an Early to Middle Cretaceous shark, nicknamed the "Ginsu Shark," which reached lengths of approximately 20 feet (6.1m); it is difficult to estimate weight of fossilized cartilaginous fish and as such, I do not recall seeing any confident estimates of weight for Cretoxyrhina. The jaws of the Ginsu Shark were, like sharks today, a veritable death chamber with 34  upper and 36 lower teeth approximately 6 inches 6cm long (brain cramp, my apologies) lining the great mouth of the shark. This week ought to be a true Jaws story in the making, and I am working to procure permissions for some great art to share over the week, so stay tuned; it is basically Cretaceous Shark Week here folks!

References for today:
Everhart, Mike. "A GIANT GINSU SHARK (Cretoxyrhina mantelli Agassiz) From Late CRETACEOUS Chalk of KANSAS"

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