Smaller than a Microraptor!

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Physogaleus as it appeared in episode 2 of Walking with Beasts
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Superorder: Selachimorpha
Genus: Physogaleus
Cappetta, 1980
Referred species
  • Physogaleus secundus (type)
  • Physogaleus contortus
  • Galeocerdo contortus

Physogaleus is an extinct genus of prehistoric shark that lived in oceans worldwide from the Paleocene to Miocene epochs.


Physogaleus is a moderately well known genus of sharks, and like all fossil sharks, are only known through fossilized teeth. Their teeth have been noted to be similar to that of Tiger Sharks, albeit much smaller in scale. Both sharks were contemporaries in global oceans from the Eocene until Physogaleus’ disappearance in the Miocene.

Due to their dental resemblance and similarities, Physogaleus was originally classified as an extinct member of the genus Galeocerdo (the genus of Tiger Sharks). However, later studies on the remains showed that they most likely had a diet of bony fish and were secondary predators, much like Sand Tiger Sharks.

Physogaleus was a successful genus from its appearance up until the Miocene. Though the reason for its extinction is currently unknown , it can be presumed that it was due to competition from newer shark species, more evolved faster fish (such as ancestors of modern school fish), and climate change that shrank the ranges of many shark species and genera swimming the waters of the Pliocene, during the beginning of the Ice Age.

In popular culture[]

  • Physogaleus appeared in Whale Killer, the second episode of Walking with Beasts. A pair of these sharks are seen hunting a school of fish until they were abruptly killed and eaten by a female Basilosaurus. They later appear again in the ancient Egyptian mangroves, fleeing from Moeritherium and hunting Apidium.