Coccosteus (Greek for "seed bone"); pronounced coc-SOSS-tee-us
Shallow waters of Europe and North America
Middle-Late Devonian (390-360 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 8-16 inches long and a few pounds
Small marine organisms
Armored head; large, beaked mouth
Yet another of the prehistoric fish that prowled the rivers and oceans of the Devonian period, Coccosteus had a well-armored head and (even more important from a competitive standpoint) a beaked mouth that opened wider than that of other fish, allowing Coccosteus to consume a wider variety of larger prey. Unbelievably, this smallish fish was a close relative of the biggest vertebrate of the Devonian period, the huge (about 30 feet long and 3 to 4 ton) Dunkleosteus.