Scientists Find Fossil Evidence of Unusual ‘Eagle Shark’ That Ruled the Seas 93 Million Years Ago (VIDEO)

Researchers Discover Fossils of a Unique ‘Eagle Shark’ That Glided Through Seas About 93 Million Years Ago

In March 2021, scientists announced a fascinating discovery – the fossils of a new species of shark that lived about 95 million years ago. Dubbed the “eagle shark,” or Aquilolomna milarcae, this ancient creature is unlike any other shark known to science.

Despite its fearsome-sounding name, the eagle shark was most likely a slow-moving filter feeder that looked like a cross between a standard shark and a manta ray. The find has paleontologists wondering if other ancient sharks took unusual shapes since many are known only by the teeth they left behind.

The eagle shark’s long, slender side fins are one of its “most striking features,” according to first author Romain Vullo. These broad fins, along with the shark’s broad head and lack of dorsal and pelvic fins, make it look like a combination of a manta ray and a modern shark.

As this shark probably fed on plankton, it didn’t need to go fast. Like modern manta rays, relatively slow swimming was enough to eat plankton. Its tail and tail fins resemble those of modern sharks, so the researchers suggest that the shark probably used its tail to propel itself forward and its long side fins for stabilization.

One of the most striking features of Aquilolamna is that it has very long, slender pectoral fins. This makes the shark wider than long because it is just over six feet wide but only about 5.4 feet long.

The biggest mystery surrounding the eagle shark comes from the lack of teeth in the fossil. Paleontologists rely on sharks’ teeth to identify them and figure out their evolutionary relationship to other ancient sharks. The eagle shark might have had tiny, pointed teeth.

VIDEO:

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