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Temporal range: Early Cretaceous–Paleocene
Scapanorhynchus raphiodon.jpg
Scapanorhynchus rhaphiodon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Selachimorpha
Family: Mitsukurinidae
Genus: Scapanorhynchus

Scapanorhynchus ("Spade Snout") is an extinct genus of shark from the Cretaceous period. Their extreme similarities to the living goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni, lead some experts[1] [2] 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.[3][4]


  1. ^ Mikko's Phylogeny Archive
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2010). "List of Nominal Species of Mitsukurinidae (Goblin shark)". FishBase. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  3. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 28. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 
  4. ^
  • 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.