Extinct Sharks

What Is A Crow Shark? Fascinating Facts About A Shark That Went Extinct

crow shark

The Crow Shark, commonly known as a Squalicorax, are an extinct genus Lamniform (Mackerel) shark, known to have lives in the CretaceousĀ (145-66 million years ago) period.

Crow sharks are medium in size, up to 2-5 metres long. Read on to find out more about this ancient creature.

Crow Shark Description

The Crow Shark (or Squalicorax) was a predator of the coast, but it was also a scavenger. This was evidenced by a Crow Shark tooth found in the metatarsal bone (of the foot) of a terrestrial dinosaur hadrosaurid, which most likely died on the ground and ended up in the sea.

crow shark tooth
Image of Crow Shark tooth fossil from Morocco.

Other food sources included bony fish, turtles, mosasaurs and other sea creatures. Teeth marks of this shark were also found on the bones of the Pteranodon (a genus of Pterosaur of which was some of the biggest reptiles known that could fly).

However, it is not known whether the shark actively plucked such large creatures from the air, attacked them when they were diving into the sea for prey, or they scavenged them when they died in the water.

Their bodies were similar to the Grey Reef Sharks of today, but their teeth shapes are surprisingly similar to those of Tiger Sharks.

The Crow Shark had many small teeth, with serrated and curved crowns at only 2.5 – 3cm long. A large number of of their teeth were found as fossils in North America, the north of Africa and some areas of Europe.

crow canyon sharks
Image of Squalicorax Shark Fossil | Michael Brett-Surman, Smithsonian Institution

Other Extinct Sharks

Prehistoric oceans were once a home to a wide variety of incredible creatures, including giant, ancient sharks. These sharks once lived for millions of years. Sadly, due to changes in their habitats, a decline of prey, as well as other evolutionary elements, it was made impossible for them to still exist to this day.

Throughout modern history, remnants of the Crow Shark has mainly been found in the form of teeth. Their teeth continuously grew in large numbers over the course of their lifetime and which over time was better preserved than the cartilage in the rest of their body.

Nevertheless, sharks as a species are still gaining strength and remain one of the oldest animals on Earth to this day!

Stethacanthus shark
Image of Stethacanthus shark

Unfortunately, overfishing has put more than a third of today’s sharks at risk, so the fight for their conservation is not over yet. It is vital that we help cut down on commercial overfishing and take control of climate change before it’s too late. The following is a list of 11 extinct sharks: 

The Megalodon: The biggest shark that supposedly ever existed, at a maximum length of 49-59 feet (15-18 metres). They went extinct 2.6 million years ago.

The Cladoselache: A 4 feet (1.2 metre) shark from the north of America and Europe. Their extinction happened around 250 million years ago.

The Stethacanthus: A smaller shark at approximately 3 feet (1 metre) long with a unique protrusion on the back of its’ head. They went extinct 300 million years ago. (See photo above).

The Orthacanthus: A small, freshwater shark with a distinctive spike on its head, believed to have been used to protect themselves against larger predators. Extinction was 260 years ago.

The Xenacanthus: At around 3 feet (1 metre) long, this freshwater shark was classed as a type of eel shark. It lived alongside the Orthacanthus. It was extinct 200 million years ago.

The Hybodus: This species was a small, fast shark that became extinct 65 million years ago. It is believed to have been 6-8 feet (2 – 2.5 meters).

The Ptychodus: This species is one of the largest sharks in history, at 33 feet (10 metres) in length. Extinction happened 85 million years ago.

The Cretoxyrhina: This creature was known to be one of the fastest sharks in the world who could swim 43 miles (70km) per hour. They measured at 26 feet (8 metres) long and were extinct 80 million years ago.  

The Edestus: This odd looking shark because extinct 300 million years ago and have a very distinctive jaw. They almost had a separate nose and mouth. (see photo below). They became extinct 300 million years ago.

The Scapanorhynchus: These became extinct only 5 million years ago and measured at only 2 metres (65cm). They had long pointed snouts and hung out at the bottom of the ocean.

Edestus shark
Image of Edestus shark

About the author