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SCIENCE: Megalodon vs great white shark infographic
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Megalodon was three times bigger than great white shark

08/10/2018
Graphic News

August 10, 2018 -- Jason Statham’s shark movie “The Meg” seeks to rival “Jaws” with its tale of a 20-metre long megalodon shark that reappears off an American beach after being thought extinct for millions of years. A super-shark that swam in the oceans 2.6 million years ago, megalodon was three times bigger than the largest great white, making the prehistoric fish one of the most fearsome predators of all time.

A super-shark that swam in the oceans 2.6 million years ago, megalodon was three times bigger than the largest great white, making the prehistoric fish one of the most fearsome predators of all time.

Most of our knowledge about megalodon comes from its enormous teeth, which which can reach up to 18cm long. The word megalodon means “large tooth”.

Studies reconstructing the shark's bite force suggest it may have been one of the most powerful predators ever to have lived.

According to a work by a team of researchers led by Stephen Wroe
from the University of New South Wales, published in the Journal of Zoology in 2008, the largest great whites have a bite force of up to 18 tonnes, three times that of an African lion and 20 times harder than a human bites.

Megalodon, though, is more impressive. It is estimated to bite down with a force of between 10.8 to 18.2 tonnes.

Fossilised whale bones found with cut marks of megalodon teeth –some even having tips of teeth broken off – are evidence that the pre-historic shark would have eaten animals as large as humpback whales.

Lined with 276 teeth, megalodon jaws spanned 2.7 by 3.4 metres
wide – enough to swallow two adult people side-by-side.

We know that megalodon had become extinct by the end of the Pliocene (2.6 million years ago), when the planet entered a phase of global cooling.


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