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Temporal range: Asselian-Artinskian, 299–283 Ma
Cobelodus SW.png
Life restoration
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Symmoriiformes
Family: Symmoriidae
Genus: Cobelodus
Zangerl, 1973
Type species
Styptobasis aculeata
Cope, 1894

Cobelodus is an extinct genus of holocephalid known from the early Permian period.[1] The type specimen, assigned to the genus Styptobasis, was discovered by Edward Drinker Cope in Illinois Basin black coal shales. Rainer Zangerl reassigned S. aculeata in 1973 to the genus Cobelodus, translating to 'needle tooth'. Cope's description was based from a tooth fragment and was compared to the genus Monocladodus. Cobelodus differs from Styptobasis and Monocladodus in the anatomy of its teeth and pectoral fins.[2]

Cobelodus was a 2 metres (6.6 ft) long predator. Although it was related to the chimaera, Cobelodus had a number of differences from modern forms. It had a bulbous head, large eyes, a high-arched back, and a dorsal fin placed far to the rear, above the pelvic fins. Because of its large eyes, it is thought to have lived in the deeper, darker parts of the sea, hunting crustaceans and squid. Another unusual physical feature of Cobelodus are the 30 centimetres (12 in) long, flexible cartilagenous 'tentacles' sprouting from its pectoral fins. Their purpose is unknown.[3]


  1. ^ Ivanov, Alexander (30 August 2005). "Early Permian chondrichthyans of the Middle and South Urals". Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia. 8 (2): 127–138. doi:10.4072/rbp.2005.2.05. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  2. ^ Zangerl, Rainer (November 1976). "Cobelodus aculeatus (Cope), an anacanthous shark from Pennsylvanian black shales of North America". Palaeontographica: Beiträge zur Naturgeschichte der Vorzeit. 154: 107–157. Retrieved 28 December 2021.
  3. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 27. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.