Temporal range: Early Carboniferous– Late Permian
|Artistic impression of a Orthacanthus hunting a Triodus|
|Species:|| †Orthacanthus arcuatus (Newberry, 1856)|
+Orthacanthus cylindricus (Agassiz, 1843)
Orthacanthus is a genus of prehistoric freshwater shark that lived during the Paleozoic era. It was also an member of a group of ancient sharks called xenacanths, all of which were freshwater sharks with long fins down their backs and a spine at the start of the fin. It was the largest of the known xenacanths at 3 meters (10 feet) and 45 kg (100 lbs).
About 260 million years ago, Orthacanthus was the apex predator of freshwater swamps and bayous in Europe and North America. It owned a peculiar set of double-fanged teeth. They first appeared about 400 million years ago in the Devonian, and became extinct just before the Mesozoic, about 225 million years ago.
In Popular CultureEdit
- Orthacanthus was featured in the Shark Week special Prehistoric Sharks, where it was labelled as the terror of permian swamps.
- A set of jaws and teeth from Orthacanthus can be seen in the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
- Orthacanthus appears in Jurassic World: The Game, where it is a cave creature that is obtained through VIP Membership.
- A stylized Orthacantus is seen in The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island during the song Big Water.
- It appears in the River Monsters episode Prehistoric Terrors alongside several other prehistoric fish.