Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

Otodus-bitten sperm whale tooth from the Neogene of the Coastal Eastern United States

Stephen J. Godfrey, John R. Nance, and Norman L. Riker

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica in press
available online 09 Aug 2021 doi:https://doi.org/10.4202/app.00820.2020

A description and analysis is given of a single physeteroid tooth, from the Neogene of the Nutrien Aurora Phosphate Mine (formerly known as the Lee Creek Mine, Aurora, North Carolina, USA), that was bitten either by the extinct megatoothed shark Otodus chubutensis or Otodus megalodon. The tooth shows three gouges, one of which also preserves raking bite traces, made as the serrations on the Otodus sp. tooth struck and cut into its surface. We do not know if these bite traces came about as a result of scavenging or active predation. However, because the bite traces occur on part of the skull, this suggests a predatory interaction. This tooth preserves the first evidence in the fossil record of a predatory/antagonistic interaction between a sperm whale and a megatoothed shark.

Stephen J. Godfrey [Stephen.Godfrey@calvertcountymd.gov], Department of Paleontology, Calvert Marine Museum, PO Box 97, Solomons, Maryland, 20688, USA; and Research Associate, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 20560, USA. John R. Nance [John.Nance@calvertcountymd.gov], Department of Paleontology, Calvert Marine Museum, PO Box 97, Solomons, Maryland, 20688, USA. Norman L. Riker (deceased), 620 Rolling Hills Road, Solomons, Maryland, 20688, USA.


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