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Dunkleosteus

Dunkleosteus was the biggest member of the family Dinichthyidae ("terrible fishes"). It was a heavily armored primitive fish from the Late Devonian period, living about 360 million years ago. Dunkleosteus was not a shark but a placoderm with a shark-like tail. Fossils have been found in Morocco, Africa, Poland, Belgium, China, and the USA.

Anatomy: This top predator was up to 11.5 ft (3.5 m) long and had large, scissor-like cutting jaws with serrated, razor-sharp bones, but no teeth. Its skull was was over 2 feet (65 cm) long. It had a jointed neck, an eel-like tail, a scale-less body, and hinged body shields.

Diet: Dunkleosteus was a carnivore (a meat-eater). It may have eaten sharks, among other marine life.

Classification: Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata (vertebrates), Class Placodermi (armored fish), Order Arthrodira (Coccosteus, Dunkleosteus, Groenlandaspis), Family Dinichthyidae, Genus Dunkleosteus.



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