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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous–Miocene
Scapanorhynchus raphiodon.jpg
Scapanorhynchus rhaphiodon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Selachimorpha
Family: Mitsukurinidae
Genus: Scapanorhynchus
Woodward, 1889
Type species
Scapanorhynchus lewisii
Davis, 1887
  • Scapanorhynchus lewisii (Davis, 1887)
  • Scapanorhynchus texanus (Romer, 1849)
  • Scapanorhynchus rapax (Quaas, 1902)
  • Scapanorhynchus raphiodon (Agassiz, 1843)

Scapanorhynchus ("Spade Snout") is an extinct genus of shark that lived from the early Cretaceous until possibly the Miocene if S. subulatus is a mitsukurinid and not a sand shark.[1][2] Their extreme similarities to the living goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni, lead some experts[3] [4] to consider reclassifying it as Scapanorhynchus owstoni. However, most shark specialists regard the goblin shark to be distinct enough from its prehistoric relatives to merit placement in its own genus.

Scapanorhynchus had an elongated, albeit flattened snout and sharp awl-shaped teeth ideal for seizing fish, or tearing chunks of flesh from its prey. It was a small shark normally measuring about 65 cm, though the largest species, S. texanus, is thought to have reached up to 3 m (10 ft) in length, about the size of a modern goblin shark.[5][6]


  1. ^ Capetta, H., Chondrichthyes II, Mesozoic and Cenozoic Elasmobranchii, vol. 3B of Handbook of Paleoichthyology, Stuttgart, New York: Gustav Fischer Verlag, 1987.
  2. ^ Glickman, L. S., and A. O. Averianov. "Evolution of the Cretaceous Lamnoid sharks of the genus Eostriatolamia." PALEONTOLOGICAL JOURNAL C/C OF PALEONTOLOGICHESKII ZHURNAL 32 (1998): 376-384. [1]
  3. ^ Mikko's Phylogeny Archive
  4. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2010). "List of Nominal Species of Mitsukurinidae (Goblin shark)". FishBase. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  5. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 28. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 
  6. ^
  • Case, G and Schwimmer, D., 1998. Late Cretaceous fish from the Blufftown Formation (Campanian) in Western Georgia. Journal of Paleontology., 62(2). pp 290-301.
  • Kent, B., 1994. Fossil Sharks of the Chesapeake Region. Egan Rees & Boyer, Maryland. 146 pp

External links[edit]

Scapanorhynchus texanus, Menuha Formation (Upper Cretaceous), southern Israel.