Artistic impression of Hybodus fraasi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Hybodontiformes
Family: Hybodontidae
Genus: Hybodus
Agassiz, 1837
Species: +Hybodus fraasi

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Hybodus is a genus of prehistoric hybodont sharks that lived during the late Permian to late Cretaceous periods.


Walking with Dinosaurs Hybodus

Hybodus species grew to about 2 metres (6.6 ft) in length.

As one of the most bizarre prehistoric sharks, Hybodus had strange horns on the top of their heads. When they bit into large prey, they twisted to get a chunk of flesh. These predators had acute hearing, and the sound of splashing betrayed an animal in distress.

Hybodus sharks appeared at the end of the Permian and disappeared at the mid-Cretaceous. They are prey of larger predators which may explain why its dorsal fin evolved a spike - to make swallowing them harder. They also probably lived in the shallow seas, away from giant marine reptiles, including pliosaurs.

The first fossilized teeth from Hybodus were found in England around 1845. Since then teeth (and dorsal spines) have been recovered from around the world. The mouth was not large, and rather than ruthlessly hunt large prey, Hybodus, was capable of eating a wide range of foods. They had two different types of teeth, suggesting a wide diet. The sharper teeth would have been used to catch slippery prey, while the flatter teeth probably helped them crush shelled creatures.

Popular culture

  • Hybodus was seen in Walking With Dinosaurs episode Cruel Sea, where several Hybodus were seen watching a mother Ophthalmosaurus struggle to give birth. As the sharks homed in, they scattered as the massive silhouette of an old, bull Liopleurodon appeared. Another Hybodus was seen pursuing an Ophthalmosaurus pup. The pup hid inbetween some coral and then darted away. Then the Hybodus shark then gave up. Months later, several Hybodus were seen following a trail of blood left by a female Liopleurodon whose flipper was ripped by the old bull Liopleurodon. It also appears in the Walking With Dinosaurs spinoff, Sea Monsters, where a Hybodus was seen alongside the crocodilian Metriorhynchus attacking a sick and slow Leedsichthys. The constant attacks later caused the Leedsichthys to die.

Jurassic Park: Builder Hybodus