Xiphactinus

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Xiphactinus
Temporal range: Cretaceous
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Pachycormiformes
Family: Ichthyodectidae
Genus: Xiphactinus
Species: X. audax
Binomial name
Xiphactinus audax
Leidy, 1870

Xiphactinus (from Latin and Greek for "sword-ray") was a large, 4.5 to 5 m (15 to 20 feet) long predatory bony fish that lived in the Western Interior Sea, over what is now the middle of North America, during the Late Cretaceous. Skeletal remains of Xiphactinus have come from Kansas, Alabama, and Georgia in the United States, as well as Europe and Australia.


Description[change | edit source]

Above all else, Xiphactinus was a great swimmer, able to speed towards or away from virtually anything else in the seas of the time. It may have been able to leap above the waves at times to help dislodge parasites from its skin. It was not however immune from attack. If injured, its large size meant it was easy to spot and could become prey for sharks, Mosasaurs, and other Xiphactinus.