Late Cretaceous sharks in the Opole Silesia region (SW Poland)

Robert Niedźwiedzki, Marcin Kalina


The upper Cretaceous deposits of the Opole Trough contain rare but relatively diverse shark teeth, mainly from ptychodontid sharks (Ptychodus latissimus Agassiz, 1843, Ptychodus polygyrus Agassiz, 1843 and Ptychodus mammillaris Agassiz, 1843), Anacoracidae (Squalicorax sp.), Mitsukurinidae (Scapanorhynchus raphiodon (Agassiz, 1843)), Alopiidae (Paranomotodon angustidens (Reuss 1845)) and Cretoxyrhinidae. Paranomotodon angustidens has not previously been reported from the Opole Trough. The selachians from the Opole Basin can be divided into two trophic groups: bottom-dwelling ptychodontid sharks with a diet consisting of shelly invertebrates, and pelagic Lamniformes, which were active predators feeding on fast-swimming fish and reptiles. The morphology of the teeth, signs of abrasion and the analysis of the invertebrate assemblage from the Opole Cretaceous suggest that the ptychodontids fed on inoceramid bivalves, while the lamniform sharks fed mostly on fish. Lamniformes live in all marine environments, and their remains are numerous in all the lithostratigraphic units of the Upper Cretaceous in the Opole Trough. The teeth of deep-water ptychodontid sharks are only abundant in the middle part of the Middle Turonian sediments. Nearshore shark remains are extremely rare in the Cretaceous deposits of the Opole Trough. This indicates that the Middle Turonian (middle I. lamarcki Zone) represents the deepest environment of the Opole Cenomanian and Turonian .


Elasmobranchii, lamniform sharks, palaeoenvironment, Upper Cretaceous, Opole Silesia.

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