Shark Diversity Unaffected When the Dinosaurs Were Wiped Out in Global Catastrophe
Selective extinction of apex predators suggests a shift to more generalist diets.
A global catastrophe 66 million years ago led to the extinction of all non-avian dinosaurs, and large marine reptiles like mosasaurs and plesiosaurs. But what happened to the sharks? According to a study of sharks’ teeth publishing August 10th in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Mohamad Bazzi of Uppsala University and colleagues, shark-tooth diversity remained relatively constant across the mass extinction event at the end of the .
The researchers analyzed the morphology of 1239 fossil shark teeth, including species in eight existing orders and one now-extinct order. The teeth span a 27-million-year period from the late Cretaceous 83.6 million years ago to the early Paleogene 56 million years ago, across the so-called K-Pg boundary that brought the age of the dinosaurs to an end.