The megalodon, a giant prehistoric shark, is the stuff of nightmares. And it turns out it was likely bigger and badder than we ever thought.
The megalodon is a modern star, capturing imaginations and winning hearts in a way few human actors ever could. And part of its appeal, other than being the largest shark-like creature to ever exist, is that it is now resigned to the annals of history (or so we think).
Despite the fact that the megalodon went extinct roughly 2.6 million years ago, this colossal predator is no stranger to the silver screen. The meg, as it is affectionately known, made a (somewhat exaggerated) appearance in the Jason Statham staring action film titled, well, The Meg. You can tell from that alone who the real star of that film was.
Nonetheless, scientists have continued discovering new fossils of the mega sharks, which in turn has helped them hypothesise more accurately about the size, diet and behaviour of these once ferocious beasts.
Recently, a team in Belgium revisited a collection of well-preserved, fossilised megalodon teeth and vertebrae. Using the data they obtained from this sample, along with modern technology, the scientists were able to create new a 3D model of the megalodon.
The model, which makes some assumptions based on what we know about great white sharks, has some interesting things to say. First of all, let’s get some metrics covered: it is hypothesised that adult megalodons were around 16 metres long, had 6 inch teeth, and weighed about 66 metric tonnes (which is the weight of at least 825 Jason Stathams).
From that point, the scientists argue that the megalodon, taking into account the size of its jaws, could consume a whole modern orca whale in 5 bites. However, it would then spend as much as 2 months digesting this gluttonous meal.
I’ve done my own calculations, and believe this means the megalodon could eat 50 Jason Stathams without breaking a sweat. Although it’s probably best to go with the data from the experts, which can be found here.