Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 100–82Ma
Cretoxyrhina mantelli was a large shark that lived about 100 to 82 million years ago, during the mid-Cretaceous period. It is commonly known as the Ginsu Shark.
Identification and preserved specimens
This shark was first identified by a famous Swiss Naturalist, Louis Agassiz in 1843, as Cretoxyhrina mantelli. However, the most complete specimen of this shark was discovered in 1890, by the fossil hunter Charles H. Sternberg, who published his findings in 1907. The specimen comprised a nearly complete associated vertebral column and over 250 associated teeth. This kind of exceptional preservation of fossil sharks is rare because a shark's skeleton is made of cartilage, which is not prone to fossilization. Charles dubbed the specimen Oxyrhina mantelli. This specimen represented a 20-foot-long (6.1 m) shark. It was excavated from Hackberry creek, Gove county, Kansas.
In later years, several other specimens have also been found. One such specimen was discovered in 1891 by George Sternberg, and was stored in a Munich museum. This specimen was also reported to be 20 feet long, but was destroyed during a bombing raid on Munich in World War II.
Cretoxyhrina mantelli had no common name in the early literature and over 30 synonyms were assigned to it. Since it fed by slicing its victims into bite-size pieces, paleontologists K. Shimada and M. J. Everhart gave it the name Ginsu Shark. The word Ginsu refers to slicing and dicing.
The Ginsu shark is among the most well understood fossil sharks to date. Several preserved specimens have revealed a great deal of insight about the physical features and lifestyle of this ancient predatory shark.
The Ginsu shark had 34 teeth in its upper jaw and 36 teeth in lower jaw, in each row.
C. mantelli grew up to 7 metres (23 ft) long and rivaled the extant great white shark, Carcharodon carharias in size.
The Ginsu shark was the largest shark in its time and was among the chief predators of the seas. Fossil records revealed that it preyed on a variety of marine animals, such as Mosasaurs like Tylosaurus, Plesiosaurs like Elasmosaurus, bony fish like Xiphactinus, and protostegid turtles like Archelon.
- Everhart, Mike. "A GIANT GINSU SHARK (Cretoxyrhina mantelli Agassiz) From Late CRETACEOUS Chalk of KANSAS".
- Everhart, Mike. "Cretoxyrhina mantelli - The Ginsu Shark".
- Everhart, Mike. "Large Sharks in the Western Interior Sea".
- Shimada, Kenshu, Cumbaa, S. L., Rooyen, D. V. (2006). "Caudal Fin Skeleton of the LATE CRETACEOUS LAMNIFORM SHARK, CRETOXYRHINA MANTELLI, from the NIOBRARA CHALK OF KANSAS". New Mexico Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2009-10-02.[dead link]
- Rothschild, B. M. (2005). "Sharks eating mosasaurs, dead or alive?". Netherlands Journal of Geosciencesvolume 21 (4): 335–340. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- Everhart, M. J. (2005). "Bite marks on an elasmosaur (Sauropterygia; Plesiosauria) paddle from the Niobrara Chalk (Upper Cretaceous) as probable evidence of feeding by the lamniform shark, Cretoxyrhina mantelli". PalArch’s Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- Shimada, Kenshu (1997). "Paleoecological relationships of the Late Cretaceous lamniform shark, Cretoxyrhina mantelli (Agassiz)". Journal of Paleontology. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- Shimada, Kenshu, Hooks, G. E. (2004). "SHARK-BITTEN PROTOSTEGID TURTLES from the UPPER CRETACEOUS MOOREVILLE CHALK, ALABAMA". Journal of Paleontology. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
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