From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Temporal range: Carboniferous 330–300 Ma
Rhizodus hibberti.JPG
Fossil tooth of Rhizodus hibberti
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Rhizodontida
Family: Rhizodontidae
Genus: Rhizodus
Owen, 1840
R. hibberti
Binomial name
Rhizodus hibberti
Owen, 1840

Rhizodus (root tooth) is an extinct genus of rhizodont, a branch of the Sarcopterygii, the bony vertebrate clade that also includes tetrapods.



The most notable characteristics of Rhizodus, compared to other giant lobe-fins such as Barameda, were the two 22 centimetres (8.7 in) fangs located near the front of its jaws,[1] followed by other teeth scaling downwards in size. Rhizodus was a giant apex predator that resided in freshwater lakes, river systems and large swamps in the entire Carboniferous period, feeding on small to medium-sized amphibians, using its teeth to kill prey and rip it into digestible sizes, rather than swallowing prey whole like other, smaller-toothed sarcopterygians.[2]

Fossil skin imprints show that Rhizodus had large, plate-like scales, similar to those found on modern day arapaima.[3]


Rhizodus' diet includes medium sized fish and tetrapods. It has been proposed that Rhizodus may have lunged at terrestrial, shorebound prey, just like a modern day crocodile.[4]