Bandringa rayi fossil shark, Mazon Creek Lagerstatte
Bandringa rayi fossil shark, Mazon Creek Lagerstatte. This is the holotype specimen of the species. Its size and lack of developed cartilaginous skeletal structures indicate that this is a juvenile shark.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Ctenacanthiformes
Family: Bandringidae
Zangerl, 1969
Genus: Bandringa
Zangerl, 1969
Binomial name
Bandringa rayi
Zangerl, 1969
  • Bandringa herdinae Zangerl, 1979

Bandringa is an extinct, well-preserved genus of extinct fossils shark. Its fossils were found in the Mazon Creek fossil beds. The type and only species, Bandringa rayi, lived in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio. There was orignally two species described, a freshwater species and an ocean species, but in 2014, researchers studied twenty-four Bandringa specimens and concluded that the only valid species was B. rayi. Most Bandringa specimens came fron juveniles. The physical differences between what was thought to have been the two species of Bandringa, B. rayi and B. herdinae, was due to the preservation process, meaning that B. herdinae was the same as B. rayi. In 2014, researchers completed the anatomy of Bandringa and discovered some new features. They included downward-directed jaws ideal for suction-feeding, needle-like spines on the head and cheeks, and a complex array of sensory organs on both the extended snout and body, suited for detecting prey in murky water. It resembeled a mix between a sawfish and a paddlefish with a spoon-billed snout up to half the length of its body.

Juveniles have been found in Illinois while adults have only been found in Ohio and Pennsylvania.


During its lifetime, a single Bandringa will have lived in fresh, brackish and saltwater.

Discovery and naming[]

The holotype, discovered in 1969, was a juvenile Bandringa rayi, measuring about 10.7 cm long and was disocvered in the Mazon Creek fossil beds. Later that year, the fossil was described. It was known as a "prized fossil".


800px-Bandringa rayi

Life restoration of an adult Bandringa rayi


Juveniles grew up to 10 cm (4 inches)to 15 cm (6 inches) long and adults grew up to 3 meters (10 feet) long.

Eggs and birth[]

Bandringa migrated down to the coastline to spawn and left behind the fossil evidence of the oldest known shark nursery. Female Bandringas traveled downstream to tropical coatlines to lay their eggs in shallow marine waters. All the Bandringa fossils from Mazon Creek from the shallow marine waters were juveniles and were accompanied by fossilised egg cases.


Bandringa is one of the oldest relatives to modern sharks.