Helicoprion Hunt

I can hear it now – most people are reading the title of this post and scratching their heads.  “WHAT is a helicoprion?”

Helicoprion is the official name of what is also called the “buzz saw shark” – a prehistoric extinct species of shark that now only exists in fossils and imagination.  And, until December, in the new exhibit at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

Tad was in desperate need of some shark therapy, and it was past time that this exhibit opened and he had been asking to go ever since the promotional magazine showed up at the house.  So off we went.

Tad with the art mural

This exhibit is part fossils and science, and part art.  The art was created by Ray Troll, author of one of Tad’s favorite books, Sharkabet, and done specifically for this display, which traveled to the zoo from the Idaho Museum of Natural History.


The kids definitely enjoyed themselves at the exhibit!

The kids at the mural

There were a couple of large model helicoprions – one hung above the aquarium tank…

Rerun with the helicoprion model

… and one was life-sized and was “breaking” through the wall.

Tad with the life-sized model

Tad’s new particular focus has become prehistoric sharks (megalodon particularly) and he is fascinated by fossils.  He especially loved the displays of the fossils of the whorl jaws of the helicoprion, and I made sure to take good pictures of them for him.

Fossils of jaws and teeth

Helicoprion jaw fossil

There was also a robot example of how the helicoprion jaw worked – it was very popular with all of the kids, but especially Rerun, who just loves anything with a button.

Playing with the robot jaw

And the aquarium has a new megalodon-sized jaw to take pictures with.  But you can’t climb into this or touch this one.

Mom and the boys in the jaw

Tad definitely enjoyed himself!

Tad, the prehistoric shark nut

This paleontology craze has been ongoing for a while, and so long as it lasts, I’m going to encourage it.  If nothing else, we are all learning something new through Tad’s driving passion.

One Response to “Helicoprion Hunt”

  1. Ressis
    August 4th, 2014 05:15

    I’ll be a little sad if Tad ever outgrows his love of sharks.