Dunkleosteus is an extinct genus of arthrodire placoderm fish that existed during the Late Devonian period, about 358–382 million years ago. The largest species grew to 6 m in length and weighed around 1 tonne.

Dunkleosteus could quickly open and close its jaw, like modern-day suction feeders, and had a bite force of 6,000 N at the tip and 7,400 N at the blade edge. Several fossils are found in North America, Belgium, Marocco and Poland. Like other placoderms, Dunkleosteus had a two-part bony, armoured exterior, which may have made it a relatively slow but powerful swimmer. However, instead of teeth, Dunkleosteus possessed two pairs of sharp bony plates, which formed a beak-like structure. Dunkleosteus may have also been among the first vertebrates to internalize egg fertilization, as seen in some modern sharks.

Made under the supervision of Philippe Janvier, John Long and Martin Ruecklin.

Digital model by our in-house master sculptor

Client: Den Blå Planet

Foto: Rasmus Sigvaldi og 10 Tons