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A new species of prehistoric shark has been discovered through rather incredible means and, thanks to the shape of its teeth, it has been named after the old-school video game, Galaga.
The Galagadon nordqvisteae is so named because its tiny teeth resemble the ships found in the classic arcade game, Galaga. One of its miniscule chompers was recently discovered from a dig in South Dakota, with this particular specimen thought to be attached to a shark that was happily swimming around 66 to 68 million years ago.
Polygon has the full report from a recent trip to Chicago's Field Museum. Believe it or not, the Galagadon was not the star of the show at the housewarming event being attended. It was actually a big secret for a few months, even though a plague highlighting its existence has been on display all this time.
The Galagadon actually has connections to the reason for the event hosted out of the Field Museum; SUE, the tyrannosaurus rex. As the original post notes, SUE has her own ties to games, though hers are due to a rather humorous social media account where she chimes in on everything from Red Dead Redemption 2 to classic Dungeons & Dragons.
So, long story short, the tooth of the Galagadon was discovered in a bag of dirt. No, really. Way back when SUE was being excavated, all of the dirt that was painstakingly chipped and brushed away throughout the process was just as painstakingly gathered for future study. It's not the most glamorous job in the world, but this is actually a common practice. The idea is that some of that dirt, when studied under a microscope, might include microscopic fossils of its own.
And that's where Karen Nordquist comes in, a volunteer for the Field Museum. She's apparently been sifting through this kind of material off and on for 15 years and, thanks to the SUE dig, she hit paydirt. (I apologize for nothing.)
The Galagadon's tooth Nordquist discovered was extremely tiny, described as being about the size of the head of a pin. Yet, miraculously, she discovered it. And with it, she turned up a previously unclassified species of shark. Even cooler, the existence of the Galagadon at the site of the SUE dig is making folks rethink their ideas concerning the past. The Galagadon is a marine creature, which means there must have been some sort of connection to the ocean to where SUE was originally discovered.
See, kids? Science can be fun! Also, we're having trouble tracking down the name of the person who actually named the Galagadon, but it would be interesting to have a chat with them about how a gaming reference won out in that whole process. Also, do they still play games? If so, how many wins do they have in Fortnite?