Oct. 5 (UPI) — New analysis of body size among the different genera in the shark order Lamniformes suggests the megatooth shark megalodon was exceptionally massive.
Mature megalodon sharks, which swam the oceans between 15 million and 3.6 million years ago, reached lengths of 50 feet.
For as long as scientists have been finding and studying megalodon fossils, they’ve been aware of the shark’s impressive size, but for the new study, published this week in the journal Historical Biology, researchers wanted to better understand how the species’ size compared with maximum sizes of its many relatives.
Megalodon is a member of a group of sharks known as lamniforms. Most extinct lamniform species are known only by their fossilized teeth, but by analyzing the relationship between teeth and body size among present-day non-planktivorous lamniforms, researchers developed an equation for estimating the body sizes of extinct lamniform shark species.