NC State researcher helps discover shark species that lived along side T. rex

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Galagadon nordquistae (Photo: Velizar Simeonovski/Field Museum)

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — A lecturer at N.C. State University helped sift through nearly two tons of dirt to discover a new species of shark that lived alongside the Tyrannosaurus Rex, according to the University.

Terry Gates, a lecturer at North Carolina State University and research affiliate with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, helped pen a paper with Eric Gorscak and Peter J. Makovicky of the Field Museum of Natural History on the discovery.

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Teeth from the Galagadon nordquistae were found in dirt next to “Sue,” the world famous T. rex that now stands in the Field Museum.

The shark was believed to grow to less than 2-feet long.

“Sue” was found in what is now South Dakota and it is believed the Galagadon lived in streams in the area.

“It may seem odd today, but about 67 million years ago, what is now South Dakota was covered in forests, swamps and winding rivers,” Gates says. “Galagadon was not swooping in to prey on T. rexTriceratops, or any other dinosaurs that happened into its streams. This shark had teeth that were good for catching small fish or crushing snails and crawdads.”

Galagadon’s teeth measure less than a millimeter across and resemble alien ships from the popular 1980s video game Galaga, N.C. State said.

Gates, along with volunteer Karen Nordquis, found more than two dozen teeth in the tons of dirt left behind after “Sue” was removed.

“These teeth are the size of a sand grain. Without a microscope you’d just throw them away.”

Gates said the discovery helps piece together the ecosystem that existed 67 million years ago and could help explain the collapse of that system at the end of the Cretaceous period.