A continuous whorl of teeth the size of a dinner plate made helicoprionids like a buzz saw with fins.

Exactly how the tooth whorl fit into its mouth, and how helicoprionids used it to hunt, remains unclear. These fearsome early shark relatives lived about 270-251 million years ago.


  • Title: Helicoprion teeth
  • Location: Bear Lake County, Idaho, United States, North America
  • Type: Fossil
  • Rights: This image was obtained from the Smithsonian Institution. The image or its contents may be protected by international copyright laws. http://www.si.edu/termsofuse
  • External Link: View this object record in the Smithsonian Institution Collections Search Center
  • USNM Catalog Number(s): PAL494391
  • Scientific Name: <i>Helicoprion sp.</i>
  • Photo Credit: Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
  • Historic Period: Lived 272–269 million years ago
  • Geologic Age: Paleozoic - Permian - Lower/Early - Wolfcampian
  • Field: Paleobiology

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