For the first time, UK researchers have released how big they think the size of prehistoric mega-shark megalodon truly was. The results are shocking.
In the past, the size of this massive beast was only estimated. Yet, a team of researchers from the University of Bristol and Swansea University has determined megalodon’s true size. Due to the shark’s body being made up mostly of cartilage, the only thing researchers have to show shark existence are their huge teeth.
A tooth of the shark is over half a foot long. The name megalodon simply means ‘large tooth’—a fitting name for a monster equipped with 276 of these massive serrated teeth.
The great white shark is the megalodon’s closest descendant but at only a fraction of the size. Great whites can grow to around 19 feet. In the 1975 hit movie, Jaws, a massive 25-foot great white terrorizes a beachside community. Imagine a shark more than double the size of Jaws. Megalodon would be unstoppable.
The UK researchers calculate the dinosaur’s size by mathematical methods and comparing it to its relatives, like the great white and five other sharks.
The shark is said to have had fins as large as humans at more than five feet. In addition, it had a head of about 15 feet long and a tail of over 12 and a half feet. Altogether, they would create a mega predator sizing in at around 52 feet long.
Jack Cooper, a palaebiologist from the University of Bristol, says that this has been a dream project because megalodon was the animal that initially inspired his career path.
“I have always been mad about sharks. As an undergraduate, I have worked and dived with great whites in South Africa. Protected by a steel cage, of course,” he said. “This means we could simply take the growth curves of the five modern forms and project the overall shape as they get larger and larger – right up to a body length of 16 meters.”
Megalodon lived around 23 to about three million years ago and had a hardy diet of whales, large fish, and other sharks. A meal big enough to fuel one of the largest fish ever to live.
[H/T The Guardian]