Extinct Sharks

Sharks are some of the most ancient creatures, predating dinosaurs, insects, and even some flora. They have survived multiple extinction-level events and have changed very little over time, indicating that these marine animals are extremely adaptable.

However, some sharks could not adapt to the world around them and died out. Who were these sharks, what was the period where they thrived, and most importantly, why did they go extinct?

List of Sharks That Went Extinct

SharkCharacteristicsWhen It Was AliveWhy Did It Go Extinct
Megalodon (Otodus megalodon)It used to live worldwide, hunting large prey like whales and sea turtles. It is believed to be the biggest shark that ever lived, ranging from 34 to 67 ft.Early Miocene (23.03 million years ago) to the Late Pliocene (2.58 million years ago)As these sharks lived in tropical waters, with a drop in global temperature in the ocean due to the planet cooling, their habitats became restricted.
Ginsu Shark (Cretoxyrhina mantelli)It was an apex predator that fed on various prey, including plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and even dinosaurs. It could swim at speeds of up to 43 mph. Fossils of this shark have been found in Europe and North America.Late Albanian (100 million years ago) to Late Campanian (83 to 72 million years ago)Increased competition from other predators, most notably the mosasaur Tylosaurus.
CladoselacheIt had a streamlined structure similar to the Great White and Mako sharks. Its fossils are found in North America.Late Devonian (382.7 to 372.2 million years ago)Potentially due to competition from other piscivores over limited resources.
StethacanthusThese sharks had unique anvil-shaped fins on their backs. Their fossils were discovered in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.Late Devonian (382.7 to 372.2 million years ago) to Late Carboniferous (323.2 to 298.9 million years)Potentially due to being preyed upon by prehistoric fish like Dunkleosteus.
OrthacanthusIt was a freshwater shark that primarily fed on Triodus fish, though there have been records of cannibalism as well. Its fossils have been found in Europe and North America.Upper Carboniferous (358 million years ago) to the Lower Permian (251 million years ago)Change in the environment and competition from other freshwater sharks.
XenacanthusIt was a freshwater shark whose fossils have been discovered in Europe and the Americas.Devonian (360 million years ago) to Triassic (208 million years ago)Changes in its environment
HybodusIt was an active predator capable of hunting down swift swimming prey.Late Devonian (382.7 to 372.2 million years ago) to Late Cretaceous (100.5 to 66 million years ago)Competition with other sharks, most notably mackerel sharks.
PtychodusThese sharks had strong teeth, which they most likely used to crush the shells of sea creatures like bivalves and ammonites.Late Cretaceous (100.5 to 66 million years ago)These sharks had small litters whose pups would mature late in life, making them highly susceptible to environmental changes.
EdestusThis shark has been identified from its ‘scissor-like’ teeth in Russia, the UK, and the US. It may have been the largest marine predator of its time.Late Carboniferous (298.9 million years ago)Potentially due to the lack of shallow water for breeding pools.
ScapanorhynchusIt is similar to the Goblin Shark.Early Cretaceous (145 million years ago) to Miocene (23 to 5 million years ago)Unclear, potentially due to limited range.
Anisopleurodontis priceiIt is similar to ratfish and chimeras, and its fossils have been found in Brazil.Permian (298 to 252 million years ago)Potentially due to competition with other predators.

Some species, like the Goblin, Frilled, and Pondicherry Sharks, were thought to have become extinct but were discovered to be still alive.