1.55" Onchopristis (Giant Sawfish) Rostral Barb

This is a nice specimen of a rostral barb/tooth from the extinct giant sawfish Onchopristis numidus. There is a repaired crack about half way, but unlike the vast majority of the barbs seen for sale, it is not a composite.

Onchopristis, or “giant saw”, is a genus of extinct giant sawfish that lived in the Upper Cretaceous (ending 65.4 mya) in or near North Africa. It had a long hard shovel-shaped snout called a rostrum. The saw-like rostrum, lined on both sides with modified tooth-like structures called denticles, were hooked and barbed. Onchopristis had an intimidating, 2.5 meter long rostrum which it would have used to unearth crustaceans at the bottom of shallow waters like sawfish do today.





We know that for the modern sawfish, the rostrum is covered with electrosensitive pores that allow the sawfish to detect slight movements of prey hiding in the muddy sea floor. The rostrum also serves as a digging tool. Should suitable prey try to swim past, the normally lethargic sawfish springs from the bottom and slashes at it with its saw.

Sawfish also defend themselves with their rostrum against intruding predators such as sharks.

The bazaar looking Onchopristis were frequently torn apart by Spinosaurus when this enormous ray traveled up freshwater streams to breed and lay eggs. Onchopristis probably lived in schools. Crocodiles, Spinosaurus and other fish-eating theropods would have feasted on the 8 meter long rays.
DETAILS
SPECIES
Onchopristis numidus
LOCATION
Taouz, Kem Kem Basin, Morocco
FORMATION
Kem Kem Beds
SIZE
1.55" long
CATEGORY
SUB CATEGORY
ITEM
#30693
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