An associated specimen of the large fossil lamnid shark Carcharodon angustidens from the Late Oligocene of New Zealand's South Island preserves approximately 165 teeth, and 32 vertebral centra, making it one of the most complete Tertiary lamnids recovered to date, and the most complete fossil shark known from New Zealand. The well-preserved dentition allows for a more thorough description and revised interpretation of the dental morphology of this relatively poorly known species, and the partial vertebral column permits the unequivocal relating of teeth and centra for this taxon. Based on dental and vertebral morphology, C. angustidens is here considered to be properly assigned to the genus Carcharodon, which also includes several other “great-toothed” Tertiary shark species and C. carcharias, the extant Great White Shark. According to this interpretation, Carcharodon has a record extending back to the early Tertiary; this is in sharp contrast to an opposing view, which holds that the genus evolved much more recently, at the Miocene–Pliocene boundary, and that C. angustidens and the other great-toothed forms should be placed in a separate genus (“Carcharocles”).
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Vol. 21 • No. 4