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Dunkleosteus, a prehistoric fish that lived in the Late Devonian period, wasn’t an ordinary fish — around 360 million years ago, it was the ruler of the seas. 

This colossal beast grew up to 33 feet long, and had a skull made up of thick, bony plates which formed a heavy-duty armor. Parts of these plates extended down to form tooth-like ‘fangs,’ which bring to mind a staple remover. The way these fangs functioned is like something out of a nightmare.

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When Dunkleosteus opened and closed its jaws, its teeth scraped against each other. This sounds painful, or at least inconvenient, but this actually sharpened the teeth — much like a knife sharpener. Not that it mattered; Dunkleosteus had a bite as powerful as an alligator — or even Tyrannosaurus rex. It could bite a shark in two. 

Fossil evidence has shown Dunkleosteus skulls with bite marks that could only have come from other Dunkleosteus, suggesting that they may have frequently attacked one another. Even spookier, they knew exactly where to attack to make the most damage: the backs of their skulls, where there were gaps in the armor.

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Dunkleosteus wasn’t just incredibly strong, it was fast. It wasn’t a quick swimmer, but its jaws opened so fast that the force sucked fish into its mouth before those huge fangs chomped down. Then, when it had consumed its prey, it vomited up the bones.

Scientists aren’t quite sure what its back half would’ve looked like, but evidence from its skull is enough to tell that it was one terrifying fish.