Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A gigantic extinct teleost fish of the family Ichthyodectidæ, characterized by a single row of strong conical teeth of variable size fixed in sockets in both jaws, an ossified sclerotic in the orbit, movable articulation of palatine and ethmoid, three suborbital plates, and a large well-developed operculum. The pectoral and pelvic fins are provided with broad anterior rays. The dorsal fin is short and situated well back, and the caudal fin is forked. The total number of vertebræ is 83. The dimensions of the large species Portheus molossus Cope are as follows: total length, 15 feet 8 inches; length of skull, 2 feet 2 inches; spread of tail, 3 feet 9 inches. The genus is confined to the Cretaceous rocks, and the finest specimens have been obtained from the Niobrara Chalk of Kansas. Found also in European Cretaceous.
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