A 3D model reveals that the megalodon could devour prey the size of an entire orca

Although shark teeth are plentiful in the fossil record, their bodies – which are made of cartilage – are rarely preserved. Therefore, current understanding of the anatomy of the extinct otodus megalodon is still very limited. Now, a team led by Swansea University (Wales, UK) and the Royal Veterinary College London have created the first 3D computational reconstruction of the body of this giant shark.

With this reconstruction, the authors were able to obtain information about their feeding, anatomy and migratory movements. The results of the study were published in the journal advances in science.

To create the 3D model, they used data from an exceptionally well-preserved spinal fossil.

To create the three-dimensional model, the authors used data from a fossil spine exceptionally well preserved −whose discovery dates back to 1860− and several O. megalodonin combination with the chondrocranium of a great white shark, its closest living analogue.

From this 3D model, they were able to determine the shark’s length and body mass, swimming speed and energy demand. primitive. The 3D model suggests that this predator was larger than previously estimated, with about 16 meters big ones it is a weight over 61 tons. “Thanks to this reconstruction, we now know that this megalodon specimen was about 30 feet tall. more than what was previously described”, he tells SINC John Hutchinsonresearcher at the Royal Veterinary College and co-author of the study.

The adult megalodon can cruise at absolute speeds faster than any modern shark species and completely consume killer whale-sized prey.

“We estimate that a O. megalodon The adult can navigate at absolute speeds faster than any modern shark species and completely consume orca-sized prey, which are among the largest predators today,” the authors write.

Long journeys without stopping to ‘refuel’

Research indicates that ancient leviathan it was a “transoceanic apex predator” that made long migrations and could eat prey the size of an orca in about five bites.

The calculated high swimming speed of 1.4 meters per second implies that this ancient shark could travel distances greater than its competitors. Its feeding preference for large prey possibly allowed it to minimize competition with other predators and also power supply enough to do long trips without the need to re-power for a while.

“Megalodon fossils have been found in Worldwide, which supports the idea of ​​a ‘cosmopolitan’ distribution. Some studies have mentioned the possibility of this shark having migrated through the seas, but this is the first time that this hypothesis is supported by the calculation of the swimming speed and the energy demand”, explains to SINC Jack Cooperresearcher at Swansea University and first author of the work.

“Our swimming speed estimates suggest that the megalodon could travel long distance even in a day and energy calculations indicate that it could go a long time without food. This is good evidence of their ability to migrate across the ocean,” Cooper continues.

In this same line, Catalina peppersenior author of the work, tells SINC that the results point to “a great capacity of the megalodon to consume dams of huge Size —up to eight meters long—, which allowed him to satisfy the caloric needs of two months. Our hypothesis is that it might prefer large prey, which would give it different advantages, including the possibility of long migrations without the need to eat again.”

The extinction of this giant may have had a major impact on the flow of nutrients and food webs in the oceans.

The researchers conclude that, as a great predator and great traveler, O. megalodon played a ecological paper important and probably extinction had a major impact on the global flow of nutrients and the food webs ocean food.


cooper et al. “The extinct shark Otodus megalodon was a transoceanic superpredator: Inferences from 3D modeling”. advances in science (2022). IT HURTS:10.1126/sciadv.abm9424


Recent Articles

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here