Megatooth Shark

By | September 9, 2016

The megatooth shark may have been the most terrifying and ferocious predator of all time—and possibly the biggest. This gigantic beast was a close cousin of today’s great white shark but was far larger: the height of its tail fin alone was equal to the length of a great white. The megatooth terrorized the seas for more than 20 million years, preying on whales, dolphins, and seals. It attacked at speed, seizing victims in its vast jaws and crushing them or shaking them to pieces.

Record Breaker

size-of-megatooth

A fully grown megatooth was more than times heavier than the great white, the largest shark alive today.

Megatooth shark (MEG-a-tooth shark)

megalodon-t-rex

Megatooth shark adn T-Rex put on a scale

When: 25–1.5 million years ago (Late Paleogene to Early Neogene)

Fossil location: Europe, N. America, S. America, Africa, Asia

Habitat: Warm oceans

Length: 67 ft (20 m)

Only teeth and spine bones of the megatooth shark have been found. By comparing these with modern sharks, scientists estimate the megatooth shark may have weighed as much as 100 tonnes—as much as 30 elephants. Its fossil teeth are common in sites rich in sea mammals such as seals and dolphins, suggesting these were the megatooth’s prey.

BIG TOOTH

megalodon-tooth

Megatooth means “big tooth.” This shark certainly lived up to its name, with more than 250 teeth, each of which grew up to 7 in (17 cm) long. The teeth had sharp, serrated edges like the cutting side of a sa —ideal for slicing through flesh.

megatooth-jaw-vs-white-shark-jaw

Fossil jaws of the megatooth shark have never been found, but scientsists built this model by scaling up a great white shark’s jaws (in center). The megatooth’s bite was five times more powerful than that of Tyrannosaurus—it could have crushed prey to death with a single bite.

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