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Sat Apr 24, 2021, 11:01 AM

'Godzilla Shark' found in New Mexico mountains gets an official name

When you think of New Mexico wildlife, sharks aren’t typically where the mind wanders. But that’s exactly what one graduate found in the Manzano Mountains in 2013. Well, not an actual shark, but remnants of one.

“I was just sitting in a shady spot using a pocket knife to split and shift through the shaley limestones, not finding much except fragments of plants and a few fish scales, when suddenly I hit something that was a bit denser,” John-Paul Hodnett said.

At the time Hodnett was a graduate student visiting the area with a group of scientists. According to a news release the group was about to leave when Hodnett came across what he would later learn was the most complete shark fossil of its kind in North America.

Last week with assistance from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science a team of researchers have given this creature an official name, Dracopristis hoffmanorum. Or “Godzilla Shark” for short. Based on the skeleton found in 2013 researchers believe the Dracopristis was 6.7 feet long and had 12 rows of piercing teeth in robust powerful jaws and bore two 2 1/2-foot long fin spines on his back.


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