An ancient shark, belonging to the daggernose family of dwarves, has been discovered among thousands of fragments and teeth. The shark was named Isogomphodon aikenensis after the Aiken district in which the species was found. The discovery was led by researchers Dave Cicimurri and Jim Knight of the State Museum of South Carolina in Columbia. Mr. Cicimurri is the current curator of the Natural History Museum, with Mr. Knight his predecessor.
Aiken County is located on the southwestern border of South Carolina, more than 100 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
But 30 million years ago, the area would have been flooded with salt water 20ft to 30ft (6.1m to 9.1m).
The conditions would be perfect for the advancement of prehistoric sharks, crocodiles and turtles.
The researchers presented their findings on sharks in the peer-reviewed journal PaleoBios.
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Mr Knight told the Aiken standard: “Whenever you can increase your knowledge of paleobiodiversity, it's exciting.
A shark typically grows only up to 4.5 meters in length.
A prehistoric dagger would be of similar size in adulthood, reaching up to 1.5 meters in length.
The shark's teeth were very short and thin, just over a quarter of an inch tall, giving them a needle-like appearance.
According to Mr. Cicimurri, teeth would be useless for tearing pieces of flesh from shark prey.
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He said: "He probably ate some fish and grabbed them with his little needle-like teeth.
"That's when they threw it away. He did not chew the food. "
An ancient dagger species is the first species discovered on the planet.
However, Mr. Cicimurri said more Aikenensis fossils will be found in other parts of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
He said, "I wouldn't be surprised if they jumped out somewhere else."