Back in prehistoric times it was just a free for all. God was putting antlers on everything and made 7 foot tall gophers with wings, it was a mess.
Look at this poor, impractical bastard.
The prehistoric era was God’s Deviantart stage.
Now he just hides all of his stupid-looking OCs in the ocean where no one can find them.
I can’t not reblog this
That, dear readers, is a (incorrect, as it turns out) guess at a Helicoprion from 2005. It’s one of a type of ancient spiral toothed fish that lived from 285 - 225 million years ago, which puts it in the Permian and Triassic periods. Since it is cartilaginous (skeleton made of cartilage, instead of bone, like sharks), what fossils we find are generally teeth, since cartilage doesn’t last as long as bone in order to get into fossilizing situations, though sometimes we luck out. Unlike sharks, we don’t have any handy modern day examples to give us hints about how said teeth worked, fit into mouths, etc. Only relatively recently was it discovered that they weren’t direct relatives of sharks, in fact.The closest modern day relatives we’ve got are the Chimaeras, which have their own oddities, but not the spiral teeth ones. So, we’ve been tackling the teeth, which we find as tooth whorls, since Alexander Karpinsky first described it in 1899.
There’ve been a lot of ideas tossed around about how the spiral tooth animals would have worked as criticism and new evidence comes into play. Even Karpinsky took suggestions that they might have been fin spines to heart, but that’s long been pretty much ruled from lack of evidence. Karpinsky’s first idea for the animal was not unlike the picture up top, with the teeth hanging out of the mouth, but his whorl was on the upper jaw. You can see a bit of theory progression over the years in this Ray Troll artwork. (Click for a bigger image.)
Now for some cool recent info that starts with some cool not so recent info. Back in 1950, they found a tooth whorl with some fossilized cartilage jaws and skull in the Waterloo Mine near Montpelier, Idaho. The study of that fossil led to the 1966 hypothetical jaw on the stand in the lower left of the former image. Bendix and Almgreen, the two men who made the 1966 study, thought the cartilage too deformed to determine a sufficiently accurate complete jaw, though.
In 2013 a study was published on that same fossil. They did a CT (CAT) scan on the fossil with an ACTIS scanner and found out that the cartilage really was enough to determine the jaw question. Turns out, that whorl fit into the entire lower jaw like a buzzsaw, with the youngest teeth in the center and the older teeth on the outside, visually similar to how a nautilus shell’s chambers work. Once again, Ray Troll illustrates:
So, that’s the Helicoprion. Doesn’t look like the guy up top, remains awesome, and still plenty to figure out about it, like what the whole head and body might actually look like. We still only know the jaw at the this point. I’ll leave you with one last Ray Troll piece showing his idea about that.