The megalodon is a prehistoric shark having lived a while ago 25 million years in the oceans of our planet. She is considered as the largest marine predator on earth before its extinction there is 1.6 million years old. Also, a 3D reconstruction of this specimen was made by a group of international researchers. And the results are amazing!
The task was not easy for the researchers since the sharks have cartilage instead of skeletons. Thereby, very few fossils from his body could be preserved. However, huge teeth the size of a human hand could have been used in the reconstruction of his jawbone.
For the body modelingthe researchers used a single specimen preserved from the Royal Institute of Natural Sciences of Belgium. Indeed, this fossil, discovered in the 1860s, contains part of the spine of megalodon.
the largest shark that never lived
First, the team has measured and scanned each vertebra. Second, they have rebuilds the entire column. Subsequently, they have attached the column to a 3D scan of the jaw of a megalodon from the United States. And finally, “flesh” has been added around the skeleton using a 3D scan of the body of a great white shark from South Africa.
The size of the reconstructed megalodon is truly staggering. As the 3D model illustrates, theotodus megalodon measured in the 16 meters long and weighed in the 61 tons. Besides, his enormous stomach had a monstrous volume of 10,000 liters.
“Weight is one of the most important characteristics of any animal. For extinct animals, we can estimate body mass using modern 3D digital modeling methods. »
John Hutchinson, professor at the Royal Veterinary College in the UK
the megalodon was at the top of the food chain
Research results suggest that the large shark could travel very long distances at a speed of 1.4 meters per second about. If we consider his daily calorie needs, they amount to more than 98,000 calories. With the size of his stomach he would be able toengulf an 8m killer whale whole.
A research model for potential megalodon prey encounters found that consuming an 8-meter whale could have allowed the shark to travel thousands of miles across the oceans without eating again for two months.
” The extinction of this iconic giant shark likely impacted global nutrient transport and freed large cetaceans from heavy predatory pressure. »
Catalina Pimientoprofessor at the University of Zürich and lead author of the study