Resurrecting the Shark

Resurrecting the Shark

A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of A 270-million-year-old Fossil

Book - 2017 | First Pegasus Books hardcover edition.
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In 1993, Alaskan artist and paleo-shark enthusiast Ray Troll stumbled upon the weirdest fossil he had ever seen--a platter-sized spiral of tightly wound shark teeth. This chance encounter in the basement of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County sparked Troll's obsession with Helicoprion, a mysterious monster from deep time.

In 2010, tattooed undergraduate student and returning Iraq War veteran Jesse Pruitt became seriously smitten with a Helicoprion fossil in a museum basement in Idaho. These two bizarre-shark disciples found each other, and an unconventional band of collaborators grew serendipitously around them, determined to solve the puzzle of the mysterious tooth whorl once and for all.

Helicoprion was a Paleozoic chondrichthyan about the size of a modern great white shark, with a circular saw of teeth centered in its lower jaw--a feature unseen in the shark world before or since. For some ten million years, long before the Age of Dinosaurs, Helicoprion patrolled the shallow seas around the supercontinent Pangaea as the apex predator of its time.

Just a few tumultuous years after Pruitt and Troll met, imagination, passion, scientific process, and state-of-the-art technology merged into an unstoppable force that reanimated the remarkable creature--and made important new discoveries.

In this groundbreaking book, Susan Ewing reveals these revolutionary insights into what Helicoprion looked like and how the tooth whorl functioned--pushing this dazzling and awe-inspiring beast into the spotlight of modern science.

Publisher: New York, NY : Pegasus Books, 2017.
Edition: First Pegasus Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781681773438
Branch Call Number: 567.3 Ewi
Characteristics: 282 pages : illustrations (chiefly colour) ; 24 cm


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KickyMcGee Jun 05, 2017

Before we go any further, this is NOT about cloning an extinct species. No, it's far more interesting than that. The helicoprion is the strangest shark you've never heard of, and that is exactly where the author starts this book. We get a compelling read that takes us through the history (and the history of the history) of this creature, its discovery, and how we may understand a true alien on our own planet. It all acts as a vehicle to show how the science of piecing together the ancient past of the planet is stranger, harder, and more wonderful than most of us ever know. This is serious science for those of us who are NOT serious scientists, and yeah, it's also a lot of fun with beautiful illustrations of some very weird sharks. Who could ask for more?

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