Of all the live fish in the ocean, we know that whale sharks are the largest, standing up to 8 or 9 meters (about 28 feet), overshadowing all other living sharks in the ocean, and female sharks have the upper hand in size, but scientists have finally confirmed that this is not always the case. A study published in Historical Biology confirms that the now extinct Otodus megalodon was 15 meters (49 feet) long, nearly 7 meters (22 feet) longer than today’s whale sharks.
In films such as The Meg in 2018, the giant toothed shark is portrayed as a giant shark monster, a far cry from the 75-foot-long beast that makes moviegoers scream. But even if the length is not as the film suggests, the giant toothed shark is certainly the largest fish in the sea, of course, during the period of their existence.
The study used measurements taken from today’s lamniforms, a group of sharks belonging to giant tooth sharks, to estimate the length of extinct forms and to assess their teeth to prove the length of sharks. The study also showed that the size of the giant tooth shark looked like an occasional “accident” in the creation process, as it was twice the limit of the generally smaller Lambniforms species.
“Sharks have represented the major predators in the oceans since the age of dinosaurs, so it is reasonable to assert that they must have played an important role in shaping what we know today as marine ecosystems,” Keoji Ikeda, a paleontologist at DePaul University in Chicago and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “
Co-authors Michael Griffiths and Martin Becker, professors of environmental science at William Patterson University, respectively, said: “This is compelling evidence of the truly exceptional size of the giant tooth shark” and “this work represents a critical advance in our understanding of the evolution of this marine behemoth”.
But while the size may sound scary, and the idea of a giant toothed shark wandering in the ocean may make some divers’ feet tremble, rest assured that outside Hollywood, you don’t have to be afraid of the now extinct predator.