The Godzilla shark is a fossil skeleton, discovered in New Mexico in 2013. It was named “Dracopristis Hoffmanorum” or “Hoffman’s Dragon Shark” by researchers. Graduate student John-Paul Hodnett discovered this 6.7-foot-long shark 300 million years ago while excavating in the Manzano Mountains, about 50 kilometers from Albuquerque, New Mexico Fossils. Initially, the monster was nicknamed “Godzilla Shark” because of its function. A few days ago, Hodnett and other researchers published their findings in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) bulletin, in which they discovered that the shark is a separate species.
When talking about shark teeth, Hodnett said that they are “very suitable for grabbing and crushing prey, not piercing it.” According to the researchers, its teeth are the first indication that it may be a different species. According to the NMMNHS report, the shark has 12 rows of barbed teeth and two 2.5-foot-long fin-like spines on the back. The report noted that these features initially made it the popular “Godzilla Shark” title.
In 2013, Hodnett and a group of scientists went to the mountains to investigate rocks and plant fossils when he encountered an unexpected discovery. NMMNHS quoted Hodnett as saying: “I just sat in a shady place and used a knife to split and move through Shaley limestone. Apart from plant fragments and some fish scales, apart from suddenly discovering something, I found few things. Dense.” He added that this was an “exciting discovery” because “no large quadrupeds were found in that location before.”
The official naming followed seven years of preservation and research work, after which Hodnett and his team discovered that this was a new type of shark. They named it “Dracopristis Hoffmanorum” or “Hoffman’s Dragon Shark” in recognition of its Godzilla-like characteristics (big jaws and thorns), and commemorated the Hoffman family who owned the land where fossils were born.
The recovered bones represent the evolutionary branch of sharks that separated from modern sharks about 390 million years ago. However, the NMMNHS report states that they became extinct at the end of the Paleozoic era, approximately 252 million years ago.
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