A Blog by Brian Switek

Prehistoric Buzzsaw Ratfish on Film

Helicoprion was a really weird fish. So weird, in fact, that it took over a century for paleontologists to figure out how the fish’s tooth-studded whorl fit on the creature’s body. The nature of what Helicoprion jaws actually looked like was only published a little more than a week ago, brought to life in wonderful restorations by artist and fish fanatic Ray Troll.

I don’t think anyone was more ecstatic about having researchers finally figure out the arrangement of the Helicoprion dental equipment than Troll. He’s been chasing the trail of the Permian fossil for years. And now there’s going to be a film about the fulfillment of Troll’s dream. The documentary is called Buzzsaw Sharks of Idaho, and, to celebrate the scientific debut of the new Helicoprion, filmmaker Marc Osborne Jr has released of a seven minute teaser for the movie.

Musicians are jumping in to celebrate the ratfish’s new look, too. Country band 3 Trails West released two odes to Helicroprion – “The Whorl Tooth Sharks of Idaho” and “Minor Whorl”, which you can find on iTunes – and Troll says his own wonderfully geeky band Ray Troll and the Ratfish Wranglers are going to release their own tribute to the odd, 270 million year old fish. I can’t wait.

8 thoughts on “Prehistoric Buzzsaw Ratfish on Film

  1. I can’t wait to see this. perfect date night film with the g/f. (No, really. one of our bonding moments was when I mentioned in passing this guy and she was all “YOU KNOW ABOUT IT?”

  2. Thanks for the groovy words everyone! This film will debut at the Idaho State University in June and then we’ll make it accessible from there! Possibly Youtube, iTunes, VOD. I’ve been shooting for 15 months! Including some good times hanging with Dr. Leif Tapanila and Jesse Pruit and the Whorl Posse! Next week we’ll be meeting up with another Ratfish Master for some adventures!

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