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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a genus of fossil animals belonging to the shark family, described by the Russian scientist A. P. Karpinskii. Helicoprion was distributed in the early Permian period in the seas that covered the territories of the Urals, Japan, Australia, Spitsbergen, and the United States. The middle (symphyseal) row of teeth in the lower jaw merged into a spiral of two or three turns (hence the name) that protruded from the mouth and was bent on the outside into a cartilaginous cavity. Small crushing teeth in the upper jaw opposed the spiral organ.


Obruchev, D. V. “Izuchenie edestid i raboty A. P. Karpinskogo.” Tr. Paleontologicheskogo in-ta, 1953, vol. 45.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Timothy Bradley offers tidbits of information about the earliest species from the Paleozoic era, with the angel-shaped Doliodus and the Helicoprion with the buzzsaw jaw leading the aquatic parade.

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