Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Range North America and Scotland
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Symmoriida
Family Stethacanthidae
Genus Stethacanthus
Conservation Status

Stethacanthus in an extinct genus of sharks that lived around the late Devonian epoch to the early Carboniferous epoch.


The discovered remains of Stethacanthus sharks are very similar to extant species of sharks, although there are differences that make them a species separate from those sharks. Firstly, the tails of Stethacanthus sharks are symmetrical and there is an attachment, called the whip, coming off of the pectoral fins. The most notable feature of the Stethacanthus sharks was the attachment on their back. The structure is similar to a table, a wide and flat top attached onto the back of the shark by a "stand" of sorts. On the top of the "table" had small granules in the skin which are called denticles. There were also a small patch of denticles on their head. It is thought that the denticles were only present on males, which they used to grip onto their partner while mating.


They were a fairly small species of shark that grew approximately only five feet long.


There were six known species in the Stethacanthus genus:

  • Stethacanthus altonensis
  • Stethacanthus gansuensis
  • Stethacanthus neilsoni
  • Stethacanthus praecursor
  • Stethacanthus resistens
  • Stethacanthus thomasi