This Mysterious Ancient Predator Had A Killer Jaw

The sharklike Helicoprion lived 275 million years ago and could slice its prey in two with its buzz saw jaw.

This story appears in the December 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine.

The fossils resembled blades of circular saws. Frozen in time, some of the ancient impressions revealed up to 150 razor-sharp wedges in tightly wrapped spirals, or whorls. For more than a century, scientists questioned: What were they? Answer: The killer jaws of the Helicoprion, an evolutionary outlier from 275 million years ago.

In swirling oceans 275 million years ago lived one of the top predators of its time, the Helicoprion.

Related Articles

Discuss this article


Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services, personalise your advertising and remember your preferences. If you continue browsing, or click on the accept button on this banner, we understand that you accept the use of cookies on our website. For more information visit our Cookies Policy AcceptClose cookie policy overlay