Creature Feature: Orthacanthus


Before the dawn of the age of humankind, the ocean was not the only place where massive aquatic predators could be found. Orthacanthus was prehistoric shark that inhabited fresh waters from the Devonian to the Permian Periods, about 419 to 298 million years ago. The Devonian period is the era in which scientists speculate the first vertebrate climbed out of the seas and began inhabiting dry land. The Permian Period was the last period before the age of the dinosaurs, which lived in the Triassic Period.

Orthacanthus was believed to grow approximately 10 feet and feed in freshwaters swamps. The body of this species was elongated and eel-like, containing small fins to help maneuver through thick vegetation. These slender predators each possessed a sharp spine on the back of the head whose purpose is explained by varying theories.

Click here to read this research paper all about the possible origin of the Orthacanthus.

Edited by KC O’Shea


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