14" Wide Fossil Shark (Otodus) Vertebrae Cluster

This is a really cool cluster of 11 fossilized shark vertebra which would have come from the extinct, giant mackerel shark, Otodus obliquus. They are Paleocene/Eocene in age, approximately 54 million years old and comes from the phosphate deposits in the Oulad Abdoun Basin of Morocco. The entire matrix is 14x10.5" with the largest vertebrae being about 2" wide.

While isolated vertebrae are relatively common, clusters like this representing disarticulated vertebrae columns are unusual finds. Vertebrae also don't preserved as well as the teeth of these sharks.

The fossils of Otodus indicate that it was a very large, predatory shark. Based on the size of the largest known teeth and vertebrae Otodus may have reached a maximum size of nearly 40 feet in length. Otodus likely preyed upon marine mammals, large bony fish, and other sharks. It was among the top predators of its time.

Scientists determined that Otodus evolved into the genus Carcharocles, given substantial fossil evidence in the form of transitional teeth. Some teeth have been excavated from the sediments of the Potomac River in Maryland, USA, Ypres clay in Belgium, and western Kazakhstan, which are morphologically very similar to Otodus teeth but with lightly serrated cusplets and a serrated cutting edge. These transitional fossils suggest a worldwide evolutionary event, and support the theory that Otodus eventually evolved into Otodus aksuaticus and thus initiated the Carcharocles lineage.
Otodus obliquus
Oulad Abdoun Basin, Morocco
Phosphate Deposits
Rock 14x10.5", Largest Vert 2"
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