The fossilized tooth reveals a prehistoric battle of air when an eight-foot-tall shark jumped out of the sea to knock down a much larger pterosaur
- USC Explorer fossil housing a shark tooth
- a fearsome six feet long shark jumped in the air to try to shoot down the much larger pterosaur with a wingspan of 18 feet
Select Prigg for Dailymail.com
Researchers have revealed amazing evidence of a violent battle between a shark and a pterodactyl.
USC researchers studying bones at the LA County Natural History Museum were shocked to find a fossil from the fearsome flying reptile that housed a shark's tooth.
They believe the find was the result of a fearsome shark-six feet leaping into the air to try and explode the much larger pterosaur with a wingspan of 18 feet.
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USC researchers believe that the find is the result of a fearsome, six-foot-long shark that leaps into the air to try out the much larger pterodactyl with a wingspan of 18 feet shoot. Pictured, artistic impression of the battle
THE FLYING VICTIM
Pteranodon were lords of the sky.
The gigantic flying reptiles abounded when dinosaurs entered the earth. Pteranodon had a striking hood skull, a wing span of 18 feet and a weight of about 100 pounds.
They were able to cover long distances, land in the water and take off and had a penchant for fish.
The sad result for a particular flying reptile is brutally recorded on a fossil where a shark hums its neck and leaves a tell-tale tooth on a vertebra.
The researchers found that the tooth stuck between ribs in the cervical vertebrae. That was clear evidence of a bite.
There may have been an attack when the Pteranodon was most vulnerable and spread on the water, said Michael Habib, associate professor of integrative anatomy at the USC's Keck School of Medicine and research fellow at the Natural History Museum
] While Pteranodon landed on the water and was able to take off, they were clumsy at sea and took a long time to descend.
"We know that big sharks consumed pterosaurs, so one could say that a large predator species could have eaten this Pteranodon when he went into the water, but we'll probably never know for sure," Habib said.
The tooth belonged to Cretoxyrhina mantelli, a shark commonly used at the time.
He was tall, fast and vigorous, about 8 years old feet tall and roughly comparable in appearance and behavior to today's Great White Shark, even though he is not closely related.
Evidence for the crayfish shark Cretoxyrhina mantelli exploiting the Pterosaur Pteranodon from the Niobrara Formation  The investigation revealed that shark species interact with a pterodactyl.
"Understanding the ecology of these animals is important to understanding life on Earth through time," said the lead author of the study.
"Are there any sharks today that hunt seabirds?" ? Yes, there is. Is this unique or have big sharks been hunting flying creatures for millions of years? The answer is yes, they have.
"We now know that sharks were hunting for flying animals 80 million years ago."
The study appears in the 14th edition of Peer J. – Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences.
The sad result for a particular flying reptile is brutally recorded on a fossil where a shark limped around the neck leaving a tell-tale tooth behind a vertebra.
The fossil was excavated in the 1960s and stored in the museum before it was picked by scientists for further investigation from an exhibit.
They were fascinated by the embedded shark-tooth, because Pteranodon, a pterosaur species of more than 1,100 specimens. Only seven or less than 1 percent of the animals attest to carnivore interaction, according to the study.
The fossil was found in the Smoky Hill Chalk region of Kansas, where this specimen was found.
In the late Cretaceous, North America was divided by a huge waterway called the Western Interior Seaway.
It was a biologically productive region from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada.
Some of the best fossils in the world from this period can be found here, including the Smoky Hill Chalk region of Kansas, where this specimen was found.