We’re going to need a bigger boat — maybe something like a cruise ship.
Scientists recently discovered just how massive an ancient shark might’ve been. It is freaking staggering. The otodus megalodon — you know, the infamous meg you’ve likely heard of — was so large it could have snacked on orcas, colloquially known as killer whales. That’s according to a new study, published in Science Advances, that made a 3D model of what the shark likely looked like by using an “exceptionally well-preserved fossil.”
In short, and I’m taking some liberties here, the researchers concluded the megalodon was an absolute unit that was the unquestioned master of the entire ocean.
“We estimate that an adult O. megalodon could cruise at faster absolute speeds than any shark species today and fully consume prey the size of modern apex predators,” the researchers wrote.
Just how big the megalodon was is pretty difficult to comprehend. The shark, which cruised Earth 23 to 2.6 million years ago, likely could’ve swallowed a large great white in a single bite. Researchers think a large megalodon grew up to 20 meters long. That’s a shark nearly the size of an 18-wheeler. It could eat the largest current-day killer whale (around 26 feet) in five quick bites, one of the researchers wrote.
The new 3D model was an important step forward in researching the megalodon, which has remained somewhat of a mystery to scientists. Their bodies were largely made of cartilage, which means fossils — except for massive teeth — are rare. But now we have a better picture of just how massive, and impressive, the ancient animals really were.