was a prehistoric chimaeriforme fish genus
belonging to the family callorhinchidae
was a type of rabbitfish, a cartilaginous fish
related to sharks
, and indeed some rabbitfishes are still alive today. Edaphodon
has under fifteen known species
, all of which are extinct. Chimaeriformes first appeared during the Devonian
period around 415 to 360 million years ago, but this particular genus was most prominent during the Late Cretaceous
. All Edaphodon
species were situated in the Northern Hemisphere, apart from E. kawai
, which was recently discovered in the Chatham Islands
near New Zealand
. This shows that the range of Edaphodon
reached further than was previously thought.
Like most other chimaeriformes, Edaphodon
is known mainly from poorly preserved specimens; this is due to Edaphodon
being part of the chondrichthyes group, which are made of cartilaginous
materials. Thus only a few spine and tooth fragments remain in most cases. E. kawai
has been compared to another prehistoric cartilaginous fish, Ischyodus
, which closesly resembles the rabbitfish Chimaera monstrosa
. Whether the E. kawai
remains are actually Ischyodus
remains is yet to be seen.
Edaphodon is very similar to other rabbitfishes in appearance - it had dark scales, and fed using "grinding plates" of teeth that didn't regrow, unlike sharks. It is assumed that it laid eggs in a leathery pouch like other rabbitfish, but no occurrences of this have been recorded. Edaphodon had a sloping head and a mouth on its underside, allowing it to graze along the bottom of the ocean like a land-dwelling herbivore.
has numerous species, all of which are extinct:
- Consoli, C.P. (December, 2006). EDAPHODON KAWAI, SP. NOV. (CHONDRICHTHYES: HOLOCEPHALI): A LATE CRETACEOUS CHIMAEROID FROM THE CHATHAM ISLANDS, SOUTHWEST PACIFIC. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26(4):801–805.