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The megalodon, more slender than monstrous

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan22,2024

The more slender megalodon that monstrous

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Artistic representation of a megalodon chasing a kentriodon, a giant dolphin measuring 10 meters long.

Agence France-Presse

The megalodon, immortalized as a monstrous shark in the film In Troubled Waters, was indeed a fearsome creature of the seas, but a new study of its fossil remains published Monday describes it as thinner than previously portrayed. here.

Extinct from the oceans 3.6 million years ago, researchers estimated its size at between 15 and 20 meters long. A margin of error explainable by the small number of remaining fossils, teeth and incomplete assemblies of vertebrae.

Above all, he had been assigned the same imposing profile as that of the only large shark in existence today, the great white shark.

Missed, according to the published study in the prestigious journal Palaeontologia Electronica, which depicts a more slender animal, modeled on the current Mako shark.

Our team reexamined the fossil record and discovered that megalodon was much thinner than previously assumed, biologist Phillip Sternes of the #x27;University of California at Riverside.

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It would nonetheless have been a formidable predator, at the top of the marine food chain, he added.

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The megalodon actually existed for almost 20 million years, until the start of the ice age.

Based on this new analysis, the researchers assign it a very specific behavior. It would therefore not have needed to hunt very often due to a very long digestive tract, consistent with its large size.

The latter could also have proved a handicap, when stockier but also faster predators arrived.

Megalodon could not have been -not a powerful swimmer, compared to the great white shark, said study co-author Kenshu Shimada, a paleobiologist at DePaul University in Chicago.

One ​​of the theories explaining the extinction of Odontus megalodon is based on a scarcity of its prey. But Mr. Sternes suggests another scenario.

I believe a combination of factors led to its extinction, but one One of them may have been the emergence of the great white shark, which was perhaps more agile and therefore a better predator than Megalodon, he said.

Getting an accurate picture of the animal's true form requires getting your hands on a more complete skeleton than the few available, Shimada said.

He added that the fact that we don't know precisely what Otodus megalodon looked like leaves it up to our imagination.

And that of the filmmakers.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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