Saber-toothed salmon teeth more like tusks than fangs | Science News

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Saber-toothed salmon teeth more like tusks than fangs

Fossils suggest similarity to warthogs

12:37pm, January 7, 2016

SABER-TOOTHED RETHINK  One of two recent fossil finds of the extinct saber-toothed salmon is causing a revision of how scientists think the famed teeth looked. They now appear to have stuck out sideways.

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

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