Dracopristis hoffmanorum: Godzilla shark discovered in New Mexico

In 2013, Jonh Paul Hodnett, a graduate student unearthed fossil of a shark at Albuquerque, New Mexico. It turns out that, it is a fossil of a new shark species so far not known to man. After seven years of excavation, it has been named as Dragon shark. It is also called Hoffman’s Dragon shark or Godzilla shark.

About Dragon Shark

  • The shark has 0.75-metre-long fin spines. Thus, it was named Godzilla Shark initially.
  • It is 2 metres long.
  • The teeth of the shark were the first sign that it might be a different species. The teeth of the shark were shorter, squatter and less than an inch (2 centimetres) long.

About the Fossil

  • This recovered fossil is the most complete of its evolutionary branch (ctenacanthus). The Ctenacanthus split from the modern-day sharks around 390 million years ago. They went extinct 330 million years ago. The Ctenacanthus lived during the Carboniferous period.
  • The discovered fossil shows that the parts of eastern Mexico was once covered by sea. This sea extended till the current day North America.

The high desert plateaus of New Mexico have also yielded several dinosaur fossils, especially the fossils of Tyrannosaurus. The Tyrannosaurus roamed around before millions of years ago. A recent study says that more than 2.5 billion Tyrannosaurus once existed on the earth.

Name of the shark

Hoffman has named the shark as “Dracopristis hoffmanorum” to honour the New Mexico family that owns the land in the Manzano mountains. The fossil was discovered in this land.

Carboniferous Period

It is a geologic period that lasted from 358.9 million years ago to 298.9 million years ago. It belongs to the late Palaeozoic era. The earth was covered with dense and swampy forest during this period. The period gave rise to large deposits of peat. Peat is a brown deposit that resembles soil. It is formed by partial decomposition of vegetable matter in the wet acidic conditions. The peat transformed into rich coal stores in the North America and Western Europe.




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