While the Megalodon dominated the ocean by sheer size and strength, sharks like the Buzzsaw, the Crusher, and the Cladoselache had to get more creative. The Megalodon has been dead for over 2.3 million years. It was the most dominant and largest predator to ever rule the ocean. At 50 feet long, its jaws could chomp through animals the size of a humpback whale like butter. Its fossils have been found on every continent except Antarctica. As terrifying as the Megalodon was, it wasn’t the only noteworthy prehistoric shark to roam the ocean.
When speed ruled the ocean
Back in the early days of sharks, armor was out of style. Speed and agility were in. The Cladoselache was the first true shark. It terrorized the ocean roughly 380 million years ago. It had no scale or armored plates like modern sharks — just thin, delicate skin.
The Cladoselache banked on its speed. Armor would’ve slowed it down. The Ancanthodia shark shared a similar strategy. It was a transitional species between sharks and bony fish like tuna. The skeleton was made of cartilage and its fins sat on bony spines.
The Crusher shark (Ptychodus)
The Crusher shark, known formally as Ptychodus, roamed the ocean 85 to 100 million years ago. It fed on shellfish. Sounds like a “tough” diet to say the least, but it had the teeth to get the job done.
The Crusher shark had over 550 giant flattened teeth. Shellfish are easy to hunt when you’re 36 feet long. Ptychodus is the largest shellfish-eating animal ever.
The Buzzsaw Shark (Helicoprion)
The Buzzsaw shark was tough enough to survive the worst mass extinction event in Earth’s history: The Great Permian Extinction. When 90-95% of life on Earth met its demise, Helicoprion thrived. It had the teeth of a champion.
The Buzzsaw shark’s teeth were shaped in a spiraled tooth-whorl that looked like a massive horizontal buzzsaw sticking of its mouth. As the animal’s teeth grew, the older teeth were pushed outside of the jaw, then curled back under in a spiral pattern.
These sharks all had their time in the prehistoric spotlight for their own reasons. It goes to show that it pays to be unique. Whether you’re a shark or a human, do you!