The classification of fossil sharks is sometimes more of an art than science. Many species are based solely on isolated teeth or dermal denticles. Revisions in nomenclature are never ending, therefore the presence of a species on this list is no guarantee of validity, merely my best research.

For simplicity's sake, I have divided the fossil sharks and rays into two groups or cohorts; the Euselachii, or primitive sharks, and the Neoselachii, modern sharks, containing the Batomorphii or rays. While not strictly scientific, this seemed the easiest way to reconcile the systemics laid out by Zangerl (1981) for Paleozoic (Euselachii) and Cappetta (1987) for Mesozoic & Cenozoic (Neoselachii) elasmobranchs. Newer studies have updated their classifications and some are included.

Within each taxonomic group (Cohort, Superorder, Order, Family, Genus)  the list is in alphabetical order. No cladistic relationships are inferred from this grouping, it was the easiest way to organize the data. For a possible phylogenetic tree of the elasmobrachs refer to Mikko Haarmo's Basal Chondrithyes.  I have omitted the suborders and subfamily groupings for simplicity's sake. Junior synonyms abound in shark systemics and I have included the most common in "italics" after the most accepted name. Following the species are the geologic ages and locations fossils of this species have been found. Where there is serious doubt as to the validity of the age/location, or I have no information, there is a "?".  The general form is:


Superorder CITATION

Order CITATION [Common Name] "Synonyms"

Family CITATION [Common name] "Synonyms"

Genus "synonyms" species a "syn.." CITATION- Geologic age: location; . . .; Geol. age: . . .

species b "syn." CITATION- . . .

I have tried to go from the oldest geologic age to the youngest, and from specific locations to general ones on each species line. Geologic ages are often abbreviated and a time line is included for quick reference. The United States locations come first in the locales, the states being abbreviated. Usually I spell out countries, with a few exceptions noted below. Any suggestions as to layout would be appreciated, as well as additions or corrections in the taxonomy, especially where there is a " ?" .I've tried to include as many locales as possible without being redundant, any you can add would help. This is a work in progress, and future revisions will include major contributor's names/web sites on the acknowledgment/reference pages, and a free revised copy of the Listing.


I want to thank Peter Engelhard, Dick Grier and Albert Hendriks for help in editing this list, and for providing a wealth of information. Their aid was essential, as were the web sites of Jim Bourdon, Andy Nethery, and Peter Engelhard. Other  contributors  were the late Jim Craig (England), Andreas Forsman (Sweden), Toshiharu Ohta (Japan), Les Tenant (Australia), Pepijn Morgenstern, Pierre Zennaro and Willem Vergoossen (Europe), Gerardo Gonzales-Barba (Mexico). Scott McPhillamy (Locations), Alexander von Buldring and Eric Prokopi (Reference Material).

Copyright © 1999 George Steadson Williams

To contact us:

Email (remove "nospam_") :

Research: The LIST

United States Abbreviations:

AL: Alabama   AK: Alaska   AZ: Arizona   AR: Arkansas   CA: California   CO: Colorado

CT: Connecticut   DE: Delaware   FL: Florida   GA: Georgia   HI: Hawaii   ID: Idaho

IL: Illinois IN: Indiana IO: Iowa KS: Kansas KY: Kentucky LA: Louisiana

ME: Maine MD: Maryland MA: Massachusetts MI: Michigan MN: Minnesota

MS: Mississippi MO: Missouri MT: Montana NE: Nebraska NV: Nevada

NH: New Hampshire NJ: New Jersey NM: New Mexico NY: New York

NC: North Carolina ND: North Dakota OH: Ohio OK: Oklahoma OR: Oregon

PA: Pennsylvania RI: Rhode Island SC: South Carolina SD: South Dakota

TN: Tennessee TX: Texas UT: Utah VT: Vermont VA: Virginia

WA: Washington WV: West Virginia WI: Wisconsin WY: Wyoming

Chesapeake Bay: DE, MD, NJ, NC, VA 

Country abbreviations:

Belg.: Belgium N.Z.: New Zealand Neth.: Netherland

Czeck.: Czech Republic & Slovokia

A Listing of  Fossil Sharks and Rays of the World

Foreword 06/01/03