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300-Million-Year-Old Godzilla Shark Gets a New Name

A Godzilla shark who’s fossils were discovered in New Mexico in 2013 has gotten a new name. The creature has now been dubbed Dracopristis Hoffmanorum, otherwise known as Hoffman’s Dragon Shark. The shark is 6.7 feet long and lived 300 million years ago.

During a dig at the Manzano Mountains, about 50km from Albuquerque in New Mexico the sharks remains were found by a graduate student. John-Paul Hodnett found the creature who’s teeth and jawline were much like Godzilla’s in the movies.

Just a few days ago, Hodnett and other researchers published their findings in a New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) bulletin. They’ve identified the shark as a separate species than the one we are familiar with today.

Warner Bros/New Mexico Culture

The teeth which are especially interesting are “great for grasping and crushing prey,” says Hodnett. Typically a sharks teeth will pierce and shred. It’s mandibles were the first impression that this could be a separate species. According to NMMNHS’ report the shark had 12 rows of teeth and two 2.5 foot long fin spines on its back. Sounds a lot like our friend Godzilla just from that description alone.

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The find was exciting because as of then there had been no large tetrapod found there before. Hodnett says he was just “sitting in a shady spot using a pocket knife to split and shift through shaley limestones not finding much except fragments of plants and a few fish scales when suddenly I hit something that was a bit denser.”

After seven years of preservation and research work, they formally named the find. In a nod to Godzilla, (who it resembles), they decided to name it Dracopristis Hoffmanorum. The Hoffman’s Dragon Shark was named also in honor of the Hoffman family who owns the land where the fossils were found.

The skeleton is an evolutionary branch of sharks that was split from modern sharks 390 million years ago. They went extinct by the end of the Paleozoic Era near 252 million years ago.

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