The Prehistoric Fish That Could Bite A Shark In Half


Though it kind of looks like a cross between a Pez dispenser and a dump-truck someone stuck googly eyes on for a joke, the dunkleosteus (pictured above) owned one of the most powerful set of jaws in the entire animal kingdom, ever. A set of jaws so powerful they could literally bite a modern shark in half. 

Firstly to explain the sheer size of this thing (because it was massive and because we can), along with being over 30 feet long and weighing in at nearly 4 tonnes, a dunkleosteus was also covered head to fin in plated armor-like scales that made it virtually invincible and fun at parties. Scientists also believe that this armor plating made the dunkleosteus  invulnerable to most modern human methods of self-defence including screaming, crying and the assertion that there is no God. If you’re having trouble picturing what this creature would be like, imagine strapping the jaws of life to the front a small tank and you’re pretty darn close.

Along with being larger than a small bus the dunkleosteus was also capable of exerting nearly 8000 pounds of force per square inch with a single, big-ass fish sized bite. For comparisons sake crocodiles (the current leaders in the field of biting your ass in two) can muster around 4000 pounds of force with a single bite. Though you have to remember that in the case of a crocodile, all of the pressure they exert is focussed onto the tip of a razor sharp fang. The dunkleosteus on the other hand had no teeth to speak of and instead relied on two bone like protrusions that formed a sort of badass double-beak on the front of its face and brute force to crush its prey to death.

Just like, ouch.
Just like, ouch.

Even more impressive was the sheer speed at which it’s estimated a dunkleosteus could open its mouth, scientists have calculated from the bones they didn’t burn to appease Poseidon that one could probably have fully opened its mouth in around 1/50 of a second. This would have created so much suction that any fish stupid enough to be sitting in front of the swimming murderbeast would have been instantly sucked into biting range where it would have either been neatly cut in half or crushed into paste. If you’re curious about what the dunkleosteus hunted, the answer is sharks, it hunted sharks.

We have no idea why this thing went extinct but if we ever meet the time travelling shark-human hybrid who killed them all, we want to shake their fin.

Image source.