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Extinct shark’s tooth found at Barrington Quarry

A BROKEN tooth from the Orthacodus family, an extinct group of sharks, has been found in the Cambridge Greensand at CEMEX’s Barrington Quarry, near Cambridge.

The find is said to represent an important ‘first’ in the UK or Europe in rocks of this age.

The Cambridge Greensand was part of the seabed 90–100 million years ago and comprises a deposit of silty green chalk with phosphate nodules; it is restricted to the Cambridge area.



Orthacodus first appeared 200 million years ago and lived just after the dinosaurs, outliving them by 10 million years. They appear to have prefered cool waters of the northern and southern oceans.

Current evidence shows Orthacodus existed in the areas near Peterborough and on the Dorset coast, and now also in the Cambridge area. 



Although only teeth have been found to date, the Orthacodus family is thought to have resembled the present-day six-gilled shark.

The tooth is currently being studied by David Ward, a retired veterinary surgeon with an interest in fossil sharks, and will eventually be housed in the Natural History Museum in London.

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