2.36 Inch Giant Sawfish Fossil Tooth/Barb

Here is a good size 2.36 inch long tooth from the 90 million year old giant sawfish Onchopristis. This massive fish is believed to be one of the main food sources of Spinosaurus.

Onchopristis, or “giant saw”, is a genus of extinct giant sawskate (technical not a sawfish) that lived during the Upper Cretaceous in what is now 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 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.
Onchopristis numidus
Taouz, Kem Kem Basin, Morocco
Tegana Formation
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