Temporal range: Late Carboniferous to Early Triassic[1][2]
Listracanthus hystrix.JPG
Life reconstruction of Listracanthus hystrix
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: incertae sedis
Family: Listracanthidae
Genus: Listracanthus
Newberry & Worthen, 1870
  • L. beyrichi von Koenen, 1879
  • L. eliasi Hibbard, 1938
  • L. hildrethi Newberry, 1875
  • L. hystrix Newberry & Worthen, 1870 (type)
  • L. pectenatus Mutter & Neuman, 2006
  • L. wardi Woodward, 1891
  • L. woltersi Schmidt, 1949

Listracanthus is a genus of extinct chondrichthyan with uncertain affinities. Species of Listracanthus are known primarily from their tremendous, feather-like denticles, which range up to four inches in length. The denticles had a large main spine, from which secondary spines emanate from the sides, like the barbs of a feather or a comb. Listracanthus first appeared in late Carboniferous strata in North America, and eventually disappear from the fossil record some time during the Early Triassic.[1]

Restoration by Ray Troll

The appearance of these sharks are largely unknown. However, author and illustrator Ray Troll mentions in his book, Sharkabet, about how paleontologist Rainer Zangerl once discovered a large shale slab containing a long, eel-like fish covered in long, spine-like denticles characteristic of the genus, only to have it dry out and crumble into dust. As such, according to Zangerl's account, Troll reconstructs Listracanthus as resembling a tremendous, fiercely bristled frill shark.[3]

Martill et al., (2014) created the genus Acanthorhachis for the species formerly known as "Listracanthus" spinatus (Bolton, 1896). They also erected the family Listracanthidae to encompass the two genera.[4]

  1. ^ a b c Mutter, R.J.; Neuman, A.G. "An enigmatic chondrichthyan with Paleozoic affinities from the Lower Triassic of western Canada". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 51 (2): 271–282.
  2. ^ Listracanthus on the Paleobiology Database
  3. ^ Ray Troll (2002). Sharkabet: A Sea of Sharks from A to Z. Westwinds Press, ISBN 1558685197
  4. ^ MARTILL, DAVID M.; DEL STROTHER, PETER J. A.; GALLIEN, FLORENCE (2013-07-08). "Acanthorhachis, a new genus of shark from the Carboniferous (Westphalian) of Yorkshire, England". Geological Magazine. 151 (3): 517–533. doi:10.1017/s0016756813000447. ISSN 0016-7568. S2CID 129437036.

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