Stethacanthus is a prehistoric shark which lived from the Late Devonian to the Early Carboniferous Period about 390 to 320 million years ago. It was first discovered in the nineteenth century and was named by John Strong Newberry in 1889. This shark’s name means “chest spike.” Fossils of this shark have been found all over China, Europe, North America and Russia
If you had to judge this shark on its Stethacanthus pictures alone, then you would think it was one strange marine animal. That’s because it not only had little spikes on its head, but the males also had an ironing board shaped fin that jutted from their back and contained more little spikes on it. For the longest time, scientists couldn’t figure out what this growth was for, then after a little more study, they realized it was a way for males to dock with females during mating.
Stethacanthus was about 2 to 3 feet long and weighed approximately 20 pounds. One of the most interesting facts about Stethacanthus is that many scientists are speculating that they might have been bottom feeders. That’s because it doesn’t appear they could swim too quickly, especially the males who had that growth from their dorsal fin. Therefore, scientists speculate that they hung close to the ocean floor and feed that way. It is also believed that not only did these sharks hug close to the ocean floor along coastlines, but that they had specialized breeding grounds they would go to during breeding the season.
What were some of the things it probably fed on? Well, it probably fed on a variety of small fish and marine animals. Whatever it could swallow or break open most likely. It had small sharp teeth so it could also rip open prey – if they were small enough, of course.