Scientists are surprised after the discovery of a 67 million years old shark. Here is why this ancient shark is so famous right now.
Let’s start with the name: it has received the name Galagadon nordquistae. If the first part rings a bell, it’s because the shark was named after an arcade game from the 1980s: Galaga.
In the video game from 1981, the players were driving a spaceship, trying to down other ships and make it alive with the highest score possible across various levels.
The ancient shark’s teeth are a replica of these in-game spaceships! But that’s not what scientists are impressed with, of course.
Living in the Same Period as the T. Rex
This shark was living almost 67 million years ago, during the same period as the T. rex. However, the Galagadon was small, says the study published in the Journal of Paleontology.
The co-author of the study, Terry Gates (North Carolina State University) explained how South Dakota looked at that time:
It may seem odd today, but about 67 million years ago, what is now South Dakota was covered in forests, swamps and winding rivers.
Believe it or not, but these teeth measured less than a millimeter across. They were found in leftover sediment from the ones where the bones of “Sue” the T. rex specimen were found.
According to Gates, the Galagadon was not looking to prey on the dinosaurs that entered the streams:
This shark had teeth that were good for catching small fish or crushing snails and crawdads (crayfish).
He explains that they needed to look at them with a microscope. Here they are, next to the spaceships in the game (the white ones at the bottom):
One of the co-authors of the study and the Field Museum’s curator of dinosaurs, Pete Makovicky, said that the shark was similar to the modern-day bamboo sharks and that it “probably had a flat face and was very likely camouflage-colored, since its relatives today have a camouflage pattern.”
Galagadon nordquistae was small, reaching lengths of 30 – 45cm.
This discovery will help scientists learn more about the Cretaceous period, concluded Gates.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.