Fossils suggest similarity to warthogs
Museum of Natural and Cultural History/University of Oregon
PORTLAND, Ore. — Pacific Northwest nightmares are getting a revision. The saber-toothed salmon that once swam in the region may have been less saber-toothed cat and more tusky warthog.
Sharp front teeth gave the saber-toothed nickname to the extinct Oncorhynchus rastrosus fish. But rather than pointing downward like fangs, these teeth now appear to have stuck out to the sides a bit like warthog tusks, Kerin Claeson of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine reported January 4 at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology annual meeting.
The monster of a salmon, reaching 2 meters or more in length and weighing more than 450 kilograms, had teeth about the length of the end segment of her thumb, Claeson said. Two fossils at least 5 million years old from central Oregon for the first time show the teeth still attached to bones from the mouth