The spade-snout shark Prehistoric Goblin shark?…

Scapanorhynchus a.k.a. Spade Snout, is an extinct genus of shark that lived from the early Cretaceous until possibly the Miocene. Research suggests it possibly looked like today’s Goblin shark.

Family: †Mitsukurinidae

Genus: †Scapanorhynchus

Species: †lewissi, texanus, rapax, raphiodon


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Superorder– Selachimorpha

Family– †Mitsukurinidae

Common Name– Spade Snout

Genus– †Scapanorhynchus

Species– †lewissi, texanus, rapax, raphiodon

Status: EXTINCT. Scapanorhynchus lived during the Cretaceous period to Miocene period. Some research suggests it lived from Aptian through to the Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous and may have survived into the early Paleogene.

Average Size and Length: The smallest species was 65cm, and the largest was thought to have reached 10 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: Scapanorhynchus had an elongated, flattened snout and sharp awl-shaped teeth. The largest tooth found was 7cm. The shout extended out and projected forward well ahead of the jaws.

Head: Long and flat.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: Definitely the Atlantic Ocean and possibly worldwide. Based on its similarities, Scapanorhynchus is thought to be deep water living.

Diet: More than likely a carnivore/piscivore. It was a predator with teeth easily able to grab prey, and rip apart flesh. Research suggests a deep-water shark, Scapanorhynchus probably hunted in darkness.

Aesthetic Identification: There is an abundance of similarities to the living Goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni, but Scapanorhynchus has quite different fins in comparison to the Goblin shark of today. The main difference is the larger tail fin. The upper lobe was huge in comparison to the bottom lobe.

Biology and Reproduction: There is an abundance of similarities between Scapanorhynchus and the living Goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni. It had a calcified spine to withstand flexion movements when swimming.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: This snout was probably filled with electro-receptive ampullae that sensed the movements of nearby fish. Since Scapanorhynchus was seep water dwelling, it more than likely lived in total darkness, so its eyesight and vision was probably useless.

Speed: Because of the difference in tail fin, research suggests that Scapanorhynchus was not a strong open water swimmer.