Above: Front of the Specimen Card
While prehistoric fish came in all shapes and sizes, Enchodus stands out from the crowd thanks to its serious bite. While this Cretaceous period fish was by no means the most massive or dangerous predator of its time, it still struck a fearsome appearance with four elongated teeth that protruded from its mouth like fangs. These teeth could grow up to 2.4 inches, and earned Enchodus the nickname: “the saber-toothed herring,” though it is more closely related to modern trout and salmon.
Above: Large and Small Enchodus fang specimens.
Species of Enchodus were able to survive past the K-Pg boundary, the extinction event which ended the dinosaurs as well as many of Enchodus’ contemporary predators, and would continue to appear in the fossil record until the late Eocene. For at least 63 million years, Enchodus and its powerful fangs could be found across the ancient seas.
This specimen is a single Enchodus fang from Cretaceous Period deposits in Morocco. The fangs come in two different sizes:
- Small: 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches(~2-3 cm)
- Large: 1 1/2 to 2 inches (~4-5 cm)
The specimen is encased within a glass-topped riker display box. The box measures 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". A small information card is also included, which serves as the certificate of authenticity.
Please note: All fangs will show some sign of repair. In addition, to protect the specimen during transit every Enchodus tooth is individually wrapped.
On receipt, simply open the top of the case and unwrap the tooth and then arrange the fang inside the case as pictured here on the site. We also recommend placing the bubble wrap under the soft, white lining of the case. This extra padding will keep the tooth snug in the case after the lid is secured.
More About Enchodus
Above: Artist's concept of Enchodus (Source: Mini Museum)
Species of Enchodus ranged in size from inches to feet long. The largest known, E. petrosus, grew to be nearly 5 feet in length and had a huge head relative to its body. Enchodus’ defining feature was its gigantic front teeth; four fangs that could grow up to 2.4 inches which sprouted out of the fish’s mouth. These long teeth were likely used in order for Enchodus to attack soft-bodied prey such as squids Today, it is nicknamed the “saber-toothed herring” by some fossil hunters, though it is more closely related to modern trout and salmon.
Above: Large and Small Enchodus fangs.
The fish first appeared in the Late Cretaceous period and is sometimes found in the stomachs of larger marine predators such as Ichthyodectes and Elasmosaurus. This leads scientists to theorize that Enchodus was an important player in the Cretaceous sea ecosystem, a stepping stone between small creatures and larger predators. Such finds illuminate quite a bit about the ancient ecosystem and shows the struggle to survive in a world of deadly creatures.
Despite being preyed upon by larger animals, the Enchodus genus was extremely resilient. Species of the fish were able to survive past the K-Pg boundary, the extinction event which ended the dinosaurs as well as many of Enchodus’ contemporary predators, and would continue to appear in the fossil record until the late Eocene. For at least 63 million years, Enchodus and its powerful fangs could be found across the ancient seas.
Today, fossils of Enchodus appear around the world. Species have been discovered in North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Southwest Asia. Scientists classify the different species into two separate clades, which appear to have evolved in what is now North America and the Mediterranean after a separation of the population.
Holloway, W., Claeson K., et al. "A new species of the neopterygian fish Enchodus from the Duwi Formation, Campanian, Late Cretaceous, Western Desert, central Egypt." Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, vol. 63, no. 3, 2017, pp. 603-611.
Everhart, Mike. Oceans of Kansas Paleontology, 9 Mar. 2010, oceansofkansas.com/index2.html.
Cicimurri, David J., and Michael J. Everhart. "An Elasmosaur with Stomach Contents and Gastroliths from the Pierre Shale (Late Cretaceous) of Kansas." Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, vol. 104, no. 3/4, 2001, pp. 129–143.
Everhart, Michael J., et al. "Another Sternberg 'Fish-within-a-Fish' Discovery: First Report of Ichthyodectes Ctenodon (Teleostei; Ichthyodectiformes) with Stomach Contents." Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, vol. 113, no. 3/4, 2010, pp. 197–205.
Above: Back of the Specimen Card