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Seattle Times photographers offer a glimpse into what inspires their best visual reporting.

June 20, 2014 at 8:42 PM

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When a Cuisinart swam the sea


ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Artist Ray Troll gets to the point of a life-size depiction of a "buzz saw" shark put on display Friday at "Sharkmania!" at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma. While it looks fanciful, the creature also known as a whorl-tooth shark was real. It lived 270 million years ago, grew to 24 feet and 1,000 pounds, and swam the oceans, including the waters that once covered Washington, Oregon and Idaho. It used the whorl to grind its prey against its palate. "Sharkmania!" is a chance to pet a real shark and a sting ray, see fossils including a teeth whorl, admire some shark art, and learn more about these misunderstood predators. Troll, the artist, and paleontologist Leif Tapanilla, from Idaho State University, will be available 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday to discuss prehistoric shark species, such as the whale-eating Megalodon, and demonstrate the cutting power of their teeth. Just how sharp are those teeth? Sharp as steak knives. "Sharkmania!" will run to the end of the year. Information: www.pdza.org

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

This actual fossil of buzz saw shark teeth, known as a whorl, was found in Idaho at a mine. Of the 150 known fossils of the buzz saw shark, half are at the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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