SharkabetWhorl Tooth SharkScissor Tooth SharkPaleozoic Sharks
Brad Matsen and I were rummaging about at the LA County Museum of Natural History with paleontologist J. D. Stewart. "Check this out," he said, "It's blown paleontologists' minds for years. At first glance, it appeared to be an ammonite. On closer examination, it turned out to beteeth spiraling inward! This toothy vortex had stumped many a scientist.
One poor Russian, A. P. Karpinski, spent years in futile attempts to restore the position of the whorl. He placed it in the tail, on the dorsal, and in the upper jaw (my favorite, a sinister swimming Dumbo!). The beast sporting this whorl is called Helicoprion, an enigmatic sharklike fish that flourished in the Permian oceans 248 to 280 million years ago.

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