Apparently, their real name is helicoprion
, which means "spiral saw," and they were fearsome, prehistoric sharks that lived in what is now Central Oregon 250 million years ago when it was covered by a vast, ancient sea.
According to scientists, Helicoprion was a bizarre creature that went extinct some 225 million years ago, Fox News reported.
Like modern-day sharks, Helicoprion had cartilaginous bones rather than calcified ones, so the only traces it left in the fossil record were weird, whorl-like spirals of teeth that look quite unlike anything sharks sport today.
The dearth of fossil evidence has led to multiple attempted reconstructions of what Helicoprion would have looked like.
Researchers have also debated whether Helicoprion was more like a modern shark or another ancient group of cartilaginous fish, the chimaera.
This technique provides a more detailed look than ever before at the tooth whorl, revealing the only way the whorl would've fit into the creature's mouth is if it took up Helicoprion's entire lower jaw and grew continuously in a spiral, curling under itself like a conveyer belt of teeth.
When Helicoprion bit down on prey, the tooth whorl would have been forced backward, slicing and dicing the meal and moving it down toward the throat.