Pycnodont Fish Crushing Mouth Plate
Specimen approx. size: 1.25" x 0.5"
Matrix approx. size: 4" x 3" x 1.5"
Something interesting about this specimen is that alongside the Pycnodont crushing plate is a shark tooth. Also visible are what are likely fish vertebra scattered around the matrix.
Pycnodontiformes is an extinct order of bony fish. The group first appeared during the Late Triassic and became extinct during the Eocene. They have been found in rock formations spanning most of the globe. Most species inhabited shallow marine reef environments, while some species lived in freshwater or brackish conditions. They were generally small to middle-sized, with laterally-compressed deep bodies, some with almost circular profiles, adapted for maneuverability in reef environments. Most members had jaws with round, flattened teeth, well adapted to crush their food (durophagy), such as echinoderms, crustaceans, and mollusks. However, some pyncodontiformes developed piranha-like teeth used for eating flesh.