300 million-year-old giant shark swam the Texas seas | Science News

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300 million-year-old giant shark swam the Texas seas

Fossil find shows oldest known ‘supershark’ was bigger than today’s great whites

3:12pm, October 20, 2015
great white shark

SUPERSHARK  Today’s big predatory sharks, like this great white, top out at around 6 or 7 meters long. But 300 million years ago, an ancient shark found in Texas may have reached 8.5 meters in length.

DALLAS — Even sharks are bigger in Texas.

Around 300 million years ago, predatory “supersharks” that stretched about 8.5 meters long — the length of a limousine — prowled the warm, shallow seas of what is now Texas. Today’s biggest predatory sharks, such as great whites and tiger sharks, top out at around 6 or 7 meters in length.

Scientists have found fossils from big, ancient sharks before, but none this old, paleontologist John Maisey said October 16 at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting. “You don’t see sharks this size again until the Cretaceous,” he said — roughly 200 million years after the Texas shark lived.

Except for teeth, shark remains don’t show up much in the fossil record. That’s because shark skeletons aren’t made of

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