In September of last year, it was revealed that the massive Megalodon shark (Otodus megalodon) that roamed the waters millions of years ago grew as long as 16 meters (52.5 feet) and weighed up to 100 tons. However, a new study has calculated that it was actually significantly larger than the previous estimate.
Megalodon sharks dominated the waters from around 20 million years ago until their extinction approximately 3.6 million years ago. It probably would have feasted on large fish, whales, and perhaps even other sharks.
Dr. Victor Perez, who is the Assistant Curator of Paleontology at Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland, and his colleagues calculated that the shark could actually grow to 20 meters in length (65.6 feet) – more than ten feet longer than the previous estimate. Dr. Perez and two other paleontologists analyzed 11 associated fossil dentitions belonging to five different species in order to estimate their body size (by analyzing the width of a shark’s jaw, it helps to determine its body length).
Four of the species were already extinct (Otodus megalodon, Otodus chubutensis, Carcharodon hastalis, and Carcharodon hubbelli) while the other was a modern great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). The largest teeth belonged to the Megalodon and based on the dental analysis, they were able to determine its huge body size of 20 meters.
The study was published in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica where it can be read in full.
In other Megalodon news, a fossil hunter named Matthew Basak found a massive tooth at a construction site in Summerville, South Carolina. He began digging at a soil layer in a drainage ditch at the construction site when he found a decent sized tooth but what was hidden underneath it was even more surprising.
A few inches underneath the first one was a gigantic tooth belonging to a Megalodon. The tooth measured 6.45 inches and weighed 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms). Pictures of the tooth can be seen here.
Megalodon teeth can be found underneath the ground along South Carolina’s coastal plain as well as at the bottom of several streams and rivers where other ancient fossils have previously been found. In fact, many fossils dating back to the last Ice Age and even tens of millions of years prior to that have been discovered in the Charleston region.
Interestingly, a large amount of Megalodon teeth have been found and the reason why is because they went through tens of thousands of teeth during their lifetime so there are countless teeth waiting to be found. As a matter of fact, based on their diet, they could lose a set of teeth each week or two, resulting with a whopping 40,000 teeth during their life. Now that’s a lot of teeth.