Post sponsored by the Toronto Jobs Where everybody is looking to earn more money
One study compared measurements with those of five sharks today. The result is surprising.
Until now, only the length of the giant megalodon shark had been estimated. A new study has revealed the size of the rest of its body, including its fins, as big as an adult human.
There is a terrible fascination with determining the size of the largest sharks, but this can be difficult for fossil forms where teeth are often all that remains.
Today, the most fearsome shark alive is the Great White , over twenty feet long, which bites with a force of two tons.
Its fossil relative, the Hollywood movie star, the great toothed megalodon shark, lived from 23 to about three million years ago, was more than twice the length of a Great White, and had a bite force of more than ten tons.
The megalodon fossils are mostly huge triangular cutting teeth the size of a human hand.
Jack Cooper, who just completed a Master of Paleobiology at the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, and his colleagues from Bristol and Swansea used a number of mathematical methods to pin down the size and proportions of this monster, making close comparisons with a diversity of living relatives with ecological and physiological similarities to megalodon. Their findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Cooper explains in a statement that “studying the entire animal is difficult considering that all we have are many isolated teeth.” Previously, the fossil shark, formally known as megalodon otodus , was only compared to the Great White. Jack and his colleagues, for the first time, expanded this analysis to include five modern sharks.
Catalina Pimiento , co-author of the study, said: “Megalodon is not a direct ancestor of the Great White, but it is equally related to other macro-predatory sharks such as the Makos , the salmon shark and the porbeagle shark , as well as the Great White. We collected detailed measurements of the five to make predictions about the Megalodon.”
Professor Michael Benton , also a co-author, added: “Before we could do anything, we had to test whether these five modern sharks changed proportions as they grew. If, for example, they had been like humans, where babies have heads. large and short legs, we would have had some difficulty projecting the adult proportions of such a large extinct shark. But we were surprised and relieved to find that, in fact, the young of all these modern predatory sharks start out as small adults and do not change in proportion. as they grow . “
“This means that we could simply take the growth curves of the five modern shapes and project the overall shape as they get bigger and bigger, up to a body length of 16 meters,” Cooper said.
The actual dimensions of the megalodon
The results suggest that a 16-meter-long Otodus megalodon likely had a round head that was 4.65 meters long, a dorsal fin that was about 1.62 meters high, and a tail that was about 3.85 meters high.
This means that an adult human could stand on the back of this shark and would be roughly the same height as the dorsal fin.
Reconstruction of the size of the body parts of Megalodon represents a fundamental step towards a better understanding of the physiology of this giant and the intrinsic factors that may have made it prone to extinction.