Northern Arizona Shark Haven?
Say hello to Neosaivodus
flagstaffensis, a 6.6 foot shark with ferocious teeth.
That’s one of the three species of shark identified by a
group of researchers that included Northern Arizona University’s David Elliott, Northern Arizona University (NAU) Professor
of Vertebrate Paleontology. Elliott and NAU’s James Wittke, a geologic materials analyst in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental
Sustainability, were among four authors of a paper that appeared in the June 2012 issue
Biology: An International Journal of Paleontology, which announced
It appears that 270 million years ago, Arizona was under
water and home to numerous sharks. The three sharks identified so far from that
Middle Permian era were toothy and ate other sharks. In addition to Neosaivodus flagstaffensis, there is the
smaller (3.2-foot) Nanoskalme natans and
the larger (19.7-foot) Kaibabvenator
swiftae. The sharks were discovered at the Kaibab Formation.
“This work has resulted from collections of
teeth made by local collectors,” Elliott said. “We have identified over 30
shark taxa to date. This is only the first of a projected series of papers that
will make the Permian Kaibab Formation a global standard for these organisms.”
--Adapted from “Inside NAU” and
Jennifer Viegas’s article in “Discovery News” on www.discovery.com