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Temporal range: 385–320Ma
Late Devonian to Early Carboniferous
Stethacanthus productus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Symmoriida
Family: Stethacanthidae
Genus: Stethacanthus
Newberry, 1889
Type species
Stethacanthus altonensis

S. altonensis
S. gansuensis
S. neilsoni
S. praecursor
S. resistens
S. thomasi

Stethacanthus is an extinct genus of shark which lived in the Early Carboniferous epoch, around 360 million years ago. Fossils have been found in Europe and North America.

Stethacanthus was around 70 centimetres (2.3 ft) long, and in many respects, had a typical shark-like appearance. However, it is best known for its unusually shaped dorsal fin, which resembled an anvil or ironing board. Small spikes (enlarged versions of the dermal denticles commonly covering shark skin) covered this crest, and the shark's head as well.[1] The crest may have played a role in mating rituals, clamp to the belly of larger marine animals, or used to frighten potential predators.[2]

In popular culture[edit]



  1. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 27. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 
  2. ^ Elasmo-research

External links[edit]