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Product Code: ps_an251b
A trio of Marine Creatures from the VERY distant past, as depicted below:
the Devilfish of the Devonian pack consists of three ancient aquatic vertebrates: the placoderms Dunkleosteus and Bothriolepis, and the early shark Cladoselache. All of them lived in the seas of ancient Earth during the Devonian period (“The Age of Fishes”), from 408 to about 360 million years ago. Only plants and invertebrates such as insects lived on the land at the time - the main action was happening in the water!
Real jaws were still a new 'invention' at the time, and nature experimented with a couple of different versions before one type rose to dominance… Teeth, as we know them now, were still on the drawing board!
Placoderms were a bizarre form of vertebrate life. Their heads and the front part of their torsos were encased in solid bone, with a 'hinge' between the two parts. Their jaws had no real teeth, but contained plates of exposed bone instead. Fossils of the soft, non-bony parts of placoderms are rarely preserved, but some body outlines have been found, allowing us to reconstruct the rest of their bodies. When they died out around the end of the Devonian/beginning of the Carboniferous, the placoderms left no descendants.
Sharks were another early offshoot of the fish line, but obviously more successful, as they are still with us today. It may surprise some to learn that sharks do not have 'true' teeth either; their teeth are specialized scales, constantly replenished.
The three creatures in the DevilFish of the Devonian set all lived at the same time, around 370 Million years ago…
Dunkleosteus was the largest vertebrate predator the world had seen to that time, and with specimens growing up to 10 meters in length, would still be a formidable creature today! Its relatives (the dinichthyds) were free-swimming creatures, not bottom-dwellers. As with other placoderms, the front of the torso was encased in a bony thorax, attached via a hinge to the bony headshield - the head actually lifted up to enlarge the gape of the jaws. And what a gape! Lacking teeth, the jaws were lined with several plates and spikes of bone, which could crush almost anything they were likely to encounter.
Bothriolepis, as odd as it appears to our eyes, was a more typical placoderm. A smaller creature, 30-50 cm in length, its flattened shape may indicate that it was at least partially a bottom-dweller. It jaws were on the underside of the plated head, and like those of its larger cousin, lined with bony plates rather than true teeth. Its hinged pectoral fins were also encased in bone, making it look like it was part crustacean - these fins may have served to lift the body up while it rested on the sea-floor.
Cladoselache was a highly successful early shark, about 2 meters in length. Its eyes and fins were large, and its mouth was right at the front of its torpedo-shaped body. Its teeth, modified scales like those of all sharks to this day, had a central cusp, and secondary points on the sides.
These figures are truly odd-looking; so why not capitalize on that by using them in Fantasy or Science-Fiction type scenes? (As in some of the promotional imagery which follows). British 'wunderkind' SF author China Mieville used a Dunkleosteus in his award-winning novel The Scar (calling it a bonefish), and the bizarre-looking Bothriolepis would not have been out of place in the deep oceans of Naboo in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.