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Fossil Shark Transcript


Dr. John Maisey, Curator and Axelrod Research Chair, Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History

I’m John Maisey, I’m from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and I’m a palaeontologist. I’ve worked there for 32 years on fossil fish. I’m here now to look at this wonderful fossil shark you’ve got from the Devonian of Campbellton, this unique complete… almost complete specimen of Doliodus, an ancient shark that reveals many interesting anatomical features that have really changed the way we think about early sharks and early vertebrates with jaws. The fossil has the front end of the whole fossil… the whole fish is here, you’ve got the head, with the cranium, and the jaws and its teeth, and the gill arches, and even the pectoral fins…the paired fins at the front of the body, and so on. But you can only see so much in the rock, so I have been looking around at the different pieces of this and looking for different structures, but most of my work has actually been using a CT scan of part of the fossil where we actually did a scan of the fossil and then using special software we reconstruct the features that you can see in all the slices, all the sections. So we have been working so far on the cranium and the jaws and so on, and right now I’m working on all the teeth trying to determine how they vary in shape and size around the mouth, so that’s mostly what I have been doing.