Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil

Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil

by Susan Ewing

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Overview

A prehistoric mystery. A fossil so mesmerizing that it boggled the minds of scientists for more than a century—until a motley crew of modern day shark fanatics decided to try to bring the monster-predator back to life.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681776828
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 04/10/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 587,427
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Susan Ewing is the author of The Great Alaska Nature Factbook, The Great Rocky Mountain Nature Factbook, and Going Wild in Washington and Oregon, as well as two children’s books. Her nonfiction articles and essays have appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, Outside Bozeman, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Big Sky Journal, The Seattle Times, and other publications. Born and raised in Kentucky, she graduated from University of Alaska-Fairbanks and now lives in Bozeman, Montana.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Lasting Impressions 5

2 The Shark Bites 21

3 Right Shark, Wrong Name 45

4 First, Cousins 61

5 Whorl Of Fortune 75

6 Karpinsky Makes The Call: Helicoprion 95

7 A Shiver Of Sharks 109

8 Signs Of Life 125

9 The Art Of Obsession 143

10 The New Guard 161

11 Resurrection, One Slice At A Time 177

12 Coming To Terms 195

13 To The Summit And Beyond 213

14 Shark Is A Verb 243

Epilogue 255

Acknowledgments 257

Endnotes 259

Index 277

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