Study reveals the true size of a huge prehistoric Megalodon shark

Study reveals the true size of a huge prehistoric Megalodon shark
Frame from the movie 'Megalodon'. Photo: Warner Bros.

Researchers used mathematical methods and comparisons with living relatives to determine the total size of the megalodon.

A British study has just revealed the true size of the Megalodon, a huge prehistoric shark that has become famous in recent times thanks to its appearance in different Hollywood films, such as the recent ‘Megalodon’.

To date, only the length of ‘Otodus megalodon’ had been estimated, but a team from the University of Bristol and the University of Swansea have determined the size of the rest of its body, including its fins, as large as an adult human.

Researchers, who published their results in the scientific journal ‘Scientific Reports‘, used mathematical methods and comparisons with living relatives to determine the total size of the megalodon, which lived between 23 and 3 million years ago.

16 meters

The results suggest that a 16-meter megalodon, the average length established to it, is likely to have a head about 4.65 meters long, a dorsal fin 1.62 meters high, and a tail 3.85 meters long.

According to the Guardian, Jack Cooper, Paleobiologist from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, explains that this study has been his “dream project”, as “I have always been mad about sharks.”

“It’s that sense of danger, but also that sharks are such beautiful and well-adapted animals, that makes them so attractive to study,” he tells The Guardian.

“study the whole animal is difficult considering that all we really have are lots of isolated teeth,” he adds. In his research, the remains have been compared with five current species of shark, not just the white shark, which is the one that had been used traditionally.

The researchers first tested whether living animals changed proportions as they grew, but found that they did not.

“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 metres,” Cooper concludes.

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