The super shark magolodon was even bigger, faster and more voracious than previously thought

It crossed the world’s oceans millions of years ago. The huge predator was even more impressive than previously thought.

This illustration shows a 16 meter long megalodon shark hunting an 8 meter long Balaenoptera whale in the Pliocene epoch between 5.4 and 2.4 million years ago.

21. aug. 2022 10:13

Last updated yesterday 12:16

It was faster than any living shark and big enough to eat an orca in five gushes. The extinct shark known as megalodon was even more impressive than previously thought. This is shown by a new scientific study carried out by researchers at Swansea University in the UK.

The Otodus Megalodon shark swam around the oceans for 20 million years before the species became extinct approximately 2.6 million years ago. Many teeth belonging to the species have been found, they were over 18 centimeters long. But no skeleton showing what the shark actually looked like has been found.

What the researchers in Swansea have done is to create a 3D model based on an extremely well-preserved vertebra. They have used this model to calculate the shark’s probable movements and eating pattern. The results were presented in the scientific journal on Wednesday Science Advances.

What the researchers found was that the extinct shark was bigger, faster and hungrier than previously thought.

A reconstruction of a megalodon jaw.

I think the model is reliable

– We estimate that an adult megalodon could get through the water faster than some current sharks and that it could eat prey that was the size of the largest predators that exist today, the researchers write in the summary.

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It could have eaten an animal the size of an orca in five glefs, both write CNN and The New York Times.

The researchers believe the 3D model is reliable. But much is still only conjecture, since no remains of either the skull, jaw or fins have been found, says Kenshu Shimada, a professor of paleobiology at DePaul University in Chicago til The New York Times.

Ate 20 times as much as a great white shark

It played an important role as an ocean-crossing super predator, the researchers believe. It was so voracious that when it died out, it probably had a lot to say about the supply of food in all the world’s oceans.

The megalodon of which the researchers made a model would have been 16 meters long and weighed 48 tonnes. But they believe the shark may have grown up to 20 meters long.

The shark was so big that it must have consumed 98,175 calories every day, 20 times as much as an adult white shark consumes and as much as 193 BigMacs.

It may have benefited from eating larger animals, such as whales. By eating a lot at a time, it could have swum great distances before needing to eat again, as the white shark does today.

The great white shark lived partly at the same time as the megalodon. They ate a lot of the same food and the great white shark may have contributed to the extinction of the megalodon, according to research presented earlier this year.

The great white shark is much smaller than the megalodon. An adult great white shark is from four to eight meters long and can weigh up to two tonnes, while a megalodon could therefore weigh up to 50 tonnes.

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The fact that it was the great white shark that lived on may have been related to the fact that the species was best able to cope with the transition to somewhat colder sea temperatures a few million years ago.

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