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Goblin (Scapanorhynchus texanus)

Age – Late Cretaceous; Commonality – abundant; Size – avg: 1/2-1.5 inches, max: 2+ inches

The teeth of the goblin shark are the largest and generally most common find in Monmouth County. The Goblin shark’s teeth are very distinct compared from the other types found here but can sometimes be confused with a sand tiger or a mackerel.

The anterior teeth are long, have a bilobate root with a lingual protuberance and a deep nutrient groove, strong striations on their lingual crown face, striations on the lingual part of their root that’s closest to the crown (sometimes there are striations on the labial face of the root as well), and sometimes possess cusplets. The anteriormost teeth do not have cusplets. The upper lateral teeth are broader, slightly shorter, flatter, and are curved toward the distal side. They have 1-3 cusplets on each side of the crown. These teeth have a smaller lingual protuberance and a shallow nutrient groove. They can sometimes have striations on the crown and/or root. Lower laterals are similar to the upper lateral teeth, but are more erect. Posteriors are much smaller than the anteriors and laterals and tend to be confused with the mackerel shark teeth. Upper posterior teeth are more curved than the lower posterior teeth. This shark also had symphyseals. These teeth are very thin and have uneven root lobes. Scapanorhynchus is not known to have intermediate teeth.

Juvenile goblins (much less common than the adult teeth) can look very much like sand tigers. The relatively longer crown and very strong striations are good indicators of a goblin.

This shark’s dentition differs from that of the modern goblin shark, Mitsukurina. The modern goblin has more of a grasping dentition, while Scapanorhynchus had more of a grasping/cutting dentition (the anteriors are grasping while the laterals are made to cut). This fossil goblin is much more abundant than the modern goblin.

Symphyseal Teeth

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

Small symphyseal teeth are present in this species. They can take on a variety of forms.

Lingual View

Labial View

Goblin Shark Cretaceous (Scapanorhynchus texanus) Symphyseal Tooth - Labial View, New Jersey

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

Some symphyseals may possess cusplets.

Upper Anterior Teeth

Lingual View

Goblin Shark Cretaceous (Scapanorhynchus texanus) Upper Anterior Tooth, New Jersey

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This tooth takes on a classical upper first anterior S. texanus shape.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This tooth is an upper second anterior. Note how it is less symmetrical and the mesial root lobe is in line with the crown.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This tooth is an upper third anterior. They are generally smaller than the upper 1st and upper 2nd anterior teeth and have cusplets.

Lower Anterior Teeth

Lingual View

Goblin Shark Cretaceous (Scapanorhynchus texanus) Lower Anterior Tooth, New Jersey

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This one is a lower first anterior. These teeth are symphyseal-like and have fairly asymmetrical root lobes.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This tooth is a sub-adult lower second anterior. These teeth are the most symmetrical of the anterior (upper and lower) teeth.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

Another sub-adult lower second anterior tooth.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

Lower third anterior teeth resemble upper second anteriors, but they have a relatively larger root when compared to overall tooth size, a wider angle between the root lobes, and an overall less flattened shape. They can also sometimes have cusplets.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This tooth is most likely a sub-adult lower third anterior.

Upper Lateral Teeth

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Goblin Shark Cretaceous (Scapanorhynchus texanus) Upper Lateral Tooth, New Jersey

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

Upper lateral teeth are much more flattened and usually have 1-3 pairs of cusplets, which can be very irregular and amorphous. Some juvenile-sub-adult teeth may have striations.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

Another upper lateral.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

Another sub-adult tooth with more prominent striations.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This one is from one of the more posterior lateral positions.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This tooth is very likely from the last upper lateral tooth file (possibly an upper ninth lateral).

Lower Lateral Teeth

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

Lower lateral teeth are more tack-like and more symmetrical than the upper lateral teeth. Lower laterals are also much smaller than the average anterior and upper lateral.

Lingual View

Labial View

Goblin Shark Cretaceous (Scapanorhynchus texanus) Lower Lateral Tooth, New Jersey

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This lower lateral shows a unique feature of Scapanorhynchus. It has small ridges on both the lingual and labial faces of the root area that is closest to the basal margin. Usually the ridges are present only on the lingual side. The ridges most commonly occur on the anteriors, but can occur in other positions as well. Some teeth (such as the first lower lateral shown on this page) do not have these ridges. The ridges can sometimes be used to differentiate goblins from various sand tigers (which never have this feature).

Posterior Teeth

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This is possibly an upper first posterior.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This posterior is significantly smaller than the one above.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

This upper posterior is from one of the last two upper posterior positions. Posteriors (like symphyseals/parasymphyseals) can take on a variety of shapes. This one has an interesting enameled ledge on the distal side.

Lingual View

Labial View

Profile View of Mesial Side

Profile View of Distal Side

Basal View

Occlusal View

Lower posteriors seem to be less common. They are more erect and on average have much more reduced cusplets than upper posteriors. This lower posterior is from one of the two posteriormost positions.

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