Phonetic: Kar-ka-roe-clees/Kar-ka-roe-don an-gus-tee-denz.
Named By: Louis Agassiz - 1843.
Classification: Chordata, Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii, Lamniformes.
Species: C. angustidens.
Size: Estimated at up to 9.3 meters long.
Known locations: Worldwide.
Time period: Priabonian of the Eocene to Aquitanian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Usually just the teeth, but occasionally vertebra as well.
angustidens is a species belonging to the Carcharocles
'megatoothed sharks'. However some researchers do think that C.
angustidens should be placed within the Carcharodon
includes the modern day great white shark. Supporters of C.
angustidens placement within Carcharocles
point to a clear
of evolving teeth that run from Otodus
to C. angustidens
C.megalodon. However well preserved C.
angustidens fossils from New
Zealand show stronger similarities to the great white shark that are
clearer than in previous fossils. This is why C.
placed in either the Carcharocles or Carcharodon
depending upon the
source. This dispute of classification also exists for C.
Carcharocles auriculatus and Carcharocles
Returning to the New Zealand specimen mentioned above, this collection of fossils comprised of one-hundred and sixty-five teeth as well as thirty-five vertebral centrum which are thought to be from the same individual. This is a surprisingly good fossil haul for a megatoothed shark, and their study yielded a size estimate of just over nine meters for the individual. However, other more scattered remains hint that C. angustidens may have grown even larger than this estimate. Still even at a more conservative nine meters C. angustidens would still be one and half times bigger than the largest recorded great white shark.
The large size of C. angustidens means that it would have been a powerful pelagic predator that was only rivalled by other large sharks and large raptorial sperm whales such as Brygmophyseter. As a full grown adult C. angustidens probably hunted small to medium sized cetaceans such as dolphins and small whales. Smaller juveniles may have been more generalist however, their smaller size making it easier for them to take fish and smaller marine mammals.
The teeth of C. angustidens are roughly triangular with serrated edges. The teeth also usually display small cusps at the base of the serrated edges, a feature that was more pronounced in the ancestors of C. angustidens, but would disappear in later megatoothed sharks.