Marine reptiles

Helicoprion - prehistoric fish

Helicoprion is a genus of shark-like, spiral-toothed prehistoric fish that arose in the early Permian, about 290 million years ago, survived the Permian-Triassic extinction event, and eventually became extinct during the early Triassic, some 250 million years ago.

Ever since it was first discovered in the late 19th century, up until a few years ago, the only known fossils of this genus were their teeth, arranged in a "tooth-whorl", strongly reminiscent of a circular saw. Scientists have in the meantime tried to understand Helicoprion's biology, puting forth numerous colourful guesses in the process. Some suggested that the whorl started in the mouth and curved upward along the snout, some even hypothesized that the whorl protruded from somewhere along the length of the fish's back. Today, it is generally agreed that the whorl was located within the lower jaw.

Helicoprion's size is also uncertain, but more recent estimates place larger specimens at up to about 7.5 m long.
Its fossilized remains have been recovered from  Aystralia, Canada, USA, Mexico, China, Japan. The broad range of its fossil locations suggests its one time global distribution.

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