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The Spiked Tooth Salmon Swam The Seas Of What Is Now The Pacific Northwest Seven Million Years Ago, Reaching More Than Eight Feet Long With A Pair Of Long, Curved Teeth Jutting Out From Its Top Jaw

SeanPavonePhoto - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

Around seven million years ago, a now-extinct species of salmon swam in the waters of what is now the Pacific Northwest.

They weighed up to 400 pounds and reached more than eight feet long, achieving the title of the largest salmon that ever lived.

However, the fish’s massive size isn’t even its most intimidating characteristic. The salmon had a pair of long, curved teeth jutting out from its top jaw.

Previously, scientists thought that these large teeth pointed downward, much like those of a saber-toothed cat.

But new research published in the journal PLOS One has revealed that their teeth actually stuck out sideways like tusks, which has led them to be described as the “spike-toothed salmon.”

The extinct species is also known as Oncorhynchus rastrosus. They were first discovered in fossils in 1972, but the remains did not include the long teeth and upper jaw bones.

So, scientists could only infer that the teeth had pointed down. In 2014, two new O. rastrosus fossils in Oregon were unearthed, and they had nearly complete skulls.

The scientists saw that these salmon had fangs that protruded from the sides of the tips of their snouts. They were also slightly curved like a mustache.

Both male and female members of the species had spikes, which was unusual because, in modern salmon species, only males experience structural changes in their jaws as they mature into adulthood.

SeanPavonePhoto – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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