CGTPL Stethacanthus
Vital statistics
Attributes Flat dorsal fin; streamlined body
Diet Other animals including Hynerpeton
Fossil finds North America
Northern Asia
Temporal fossil range 370 to 345 mya
Other names Ironing Board shark
Production information
Notable individuals
TV appearances Sea Monsters: Dangerous Seas
Walking with Monsters: Water Dwellers
Book appearances

Stethacanthus was an early shark from the Devonian. It is unique for its bizarrely-shaped dorsal fin.

Physical appearance and biologyEdit

Behaviour and traitsEdit

Stethacanthus was a predator; but its relatively small size would have restricted its diet to small fish, cephalopods and perhaps some types of arthropod, such as trilobites. It would have been capable of swimming at moderately fast speeds, and would have hunted by chasing small fish or grabbing animals from the seabed, as many modern reef sharks do.

The most obvious feature on Stethacanthus is its strange-shaped dorsal fin, which has a wide, flattened top covered in hundreds of rough, tooth-shaped scales. A patch of the same rough scales was also found on the top of its head.

Only males had this strange-shaped fin, which means that it probably played a role in mating, possibly as part of a courtship display or to intimidate rivals. However, it has also been suggested that when viewed from certain angles the fin and the rough-shaped scales could make Stethacanthus look as though it had a gigantic, tooth-laden mouth. This might have served to scare off potential predators. Nonetheless, even though Stethacanthus was a reasonable-sized shark for its time, it would have stood little chance if confronted by some of the giant placoderms like Dunkleosteus and large fish like Hyneria with which it shared the seas.

In Sea MonstersEdit

WWM1x1 StethacanthusChasesHynerpeton

A Stethacanthus chasing a Hynerpeton. (Water Dwellers)

The Fifth Deadliest Sea EverEdit

On his quest to find the Dunkleosteus, Nigel Marven encountered a male Stethacanthus during his dive. After attacking several times, the shark fled after seeing a Dunkleosteus approaching.

In Walking with MonstersEdit

Water DwellersEdit

Whilst swimming, a male Hynerpeton was chased by a Stethacanthus. Fortunately for the amphibian, the shark was killed and eaten by a Hyneria.

Behind the scenesEdit

List of appearancesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit