New research argues the extinct types could have actually been almost 60 feet long.

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Research Need

The megalodon shark when lived global in tropical-temperate regions. Historically, the megalodon is estimated to be the world’s largest predator shark ever to have existed.


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Megalodon jaws (replica), courtesy the N.C. Aquarium at ft Fisher.


With the fossil record incomplete, it deserve to make the estimations of big extinct taxa favor the megalodon very hard to predict. In stimulate to estimate sizes of extinction species, paleontologists should rely top top the linear relationships of life relatives, such as the an excellent white shark and others.

However, this relationships continue to be questionable because of the large difference in size between species.

Can the properties of various other sharks from different lineages assist scientists determine the size of a megalodon? deserve to the human body dimensions of the great white shark, and other large predatory sharks lively today, educate the size of the head, dorsal fin, and also tail height, the the die out predatory megalodon?

What did they study?

To aid determine the many accurate body measurements of the megalodon, researchers offered five varieties of shark — great white, shortfin mako, longfin mako, salmon shark, and the porbeagle — and compared dental, physical, and also environmental similarities. They likewise used scaled images of these varieties to get accurate human body dimensions at assorted life stages.

What walk they find?

The measurements taken check that the maximum size of a megalodon was about 50 come 60 feet. For reference, it is somewhere between the length of a tractor trailer (48 feet) and a bowling roadway (63 feet).

A 52-foot megalodon shark likely would have had a head of around 15 feet long, a dorsal fin of around 5 feet tall, and a tail around 12 feet high.

Anything else?

The largest approximated size that the megalodon is more than twice the size of the biggest living shark in the Lamniformes family, which contains the an excellent white.

So what?

This analysis marks the an initial quantitative technique used to recognize the estimated size and shape of megalodon human body parts. For example, the dimensions of the dorsal and also caudal fins suggest that these were supplied for swift predatory locomotion and long-swimming periods.

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Reading

Cooper, J.A., Pimiento, C., Ferrón, H.G. et al.

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 Body dimensions of the extinct giant shark Otodus megalodon: a 2D reconstruction. Sci Rep 10, 14596 (2020). Https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-71387-y

Summary compiled through Lauren D. PharrLead photo: replica megalodon jaws at ft Fisher Aquarium. Credit: Ryan Donnell, courtesy the VisitNC.com

The text from Hook, line & Science is available to reprint and also republish in ~ no expense with this attribution: Hook, heat & Science, courtesy the Scott Baker and Sara Mirabilio, north Carolina Sea Grant.