Megalodon was more slender than previously thought
January 22, 2024 - A new study suggests that the prehistoric shark portrayed as a super-sized monster in Hollywood movies may have been more slender than previously thought.
Writing in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica, Shimada and his colleagues say past reconstructions of the megalodon were flawed because they drew on an assumption that its body form resembled a larger version of the great white shark.
Instead, the team say a new analysis of measurements from an incomplete set of megalodon fossil vertebrae suggests it looked rather different, with a longer and more slender body.
Nose to tail, the megalodon is generally thought to have been 15-20 metres long, but very little evidence exists in the fossil record – with only teeth and vertebrae available rather than any complete skeletons.
The megalodon went extinct around 3.6 million years ago, according to the United Kingdom’s Natural History Museum, for reasons scientists are still trying to understand.
- Megalodon body form (Palaeontologia Electronica)
- Megalodon sharks were much less mighty than once thought (BBC)
- Huge, fearsome … and slender: rethink megalodon body shape, experts say (The Guardian)
- Bulky or slender? Megalodon study reignites debate over extinct shark. (The Washington Post)
- Megalodon, the largest shark ever, may have been a long, slender giant (Science News)