A giant white shark found a miniature ancestor.

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An international research team led by Patrick L. Jambura of the University of Vienna studied the teeth of the great white shark and came to the conclusion that its distant ancestor was a small benthic shark from the middle Jurassic period.

A study published in the journal Scientific Reports, and briefly describes the site of the university. Scientists have found that the extinct giant megalodon and the modern white shark, the largest predator, probably had a common ancestor.

Photo: Press Service of the Vernadsky KFU
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Experts came to this conclusion after discovering a unique peculiarity of the teeth of both sharks. Experts traced the origin of this group and reached a small benthic shark from the middle Jurassic period.

Like in humans, shark teeth consist of two mineralized structures: a hard shell of hyper-mineralized tissue (human enamel and emaloid of a shark) and dentine of two kinds.

Using computed tomography, Jambour and his colleagues discovered a peculiar condition of the teeth in the representatives of the studied group. They contain only one of the two types of dentin, which is not found in other sharks.

As a result, a common ancestor was found. Such was the fossil shark Palaeocarcharias stromeri. She lived 150-165 million years ago. The structure of her teeth was the same as that of the white shark.

Paleocarparia were small compared to their powerful descendant. Their length did not exceed one meter. They probably hunted small fish in shallow water.

Until now, their species affiliation was a mystery to scientists, since in body shape they resemble carpet sharks, and in shape of teeth they look like laminar sharks. And only the unique composition of the teeth allowed to identify these ancient predators.

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