Paleontologists have actually taken a look at tooth morphologies in several family trees of sharks that lived throughout the 27.6-million-year period around the end-Cretaceous mass extinction event.

Bazzi et al. found that shark-tooth diversity remained relatively constant across the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period. Image credit: Karen Carr / CC BY 3.0.

Bazzi et alia. located that shark-tooth variety continued to be reasonably consistent throughout the mass termination occasion at the end of the Cretaceous duration. Photo debt: Karen Carr / CC BY 3.0.

Sharks are famous aquatic killers that have actually endured several mass terminations over geologic time.

Their respected fossil document is stood for primarily by separated shed teeth, which supply the basis for rebuilding deep time variety modifications influencing various shark family trees.

About 66 million years back, the end-Cretaceous mass termination eradicated approximately 75% of the pet and also plant types in the world, consisting of entire teams such as non-avian dinosaurs, ammonites, and also big aquatic reptiles like mosasaurs and also plesiosaurs. However what occurred to the sharks?

In the brand-new research study, a group of paleontologists from Uppsala College and also the College of New England assessed the morphology of 1,239 fossil shark teeth, consisting of types in 8 existing orders and also one now-extinct order.

“These teams consist of the following: the Galeomorphii orders Carcharhiniformes, Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes, Orectolobiformes; the Squalomorphii orders Echinorhiniformes, Hexanchiformes, Squaliformes, Squatiniformes; and also the vanished Synechodontiformes,” they claimed.

The shark teeth extend a 27-million-year duration from the Late Cretaceous date 83.6 million years ago to the very early Paleogene date 56 million years back.

The scientists located that shark oral variety was currently decreasing before the end-Cretaceous, yet continued to be reasonably consistent throughout the mass-extinction occasion itself.

Some teams of pinnacle killers, specifically those with triangular blade-like teeth, did endure discerning terminations throughout the duration researched, which might have been connected to the termination of their victim types.

Nevertheless, various other shark family trees enhanced in oral variety after the end-Cretaceous.

For instance, sharks in the Odontaspididae family members, which have slim, cusped teeth adjusted for feeding upon fish, revealed rises in variety that accompanied the quick diversity of finned fish in the very early Paleogene.

“This pattern of discerning terminations might show an eco-friendly change from expert tetrapod killers to extra basic bony fish diet regimens,” the researchers claimed.

Their paper shows up in the journal PLoS Biology.


M. Bazzi et alia. 2021. Tooth morphology illuminates shark development throughout the end-Cretaceous mass termination. PLoS Biol 19 (8): e3001108; doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001108