Observations have shown that the whale shark is the largest known fish, measuring up to nine meters (or approximately 28 feet), with females of the species tending to be the longest ones.
A new study published by a team of researchers confirms that the Otodus Megalodon, also known as the megatooth shark, was considerably longer, reaching up to 15 meters (or 49 feet). The length difference between the two species is close to 7 meters (or 22 feet), a feat that is quite impressive.
Shorter than it seems
Many movies tend to portrait megalodon sharks as massive predators with an uncanny length, with the behemoth-like shark featured in the movie The Meg being an example. While real megalodon sharks were far from being as big, they ruled the sea as the largest fish, at least for a while.
During the study, researchers measured contemporary lamniform (a group tied to the megalodon shark) with the aim of learning more about the size of the extinct creatures. Researchers have also learned that the size of the megalodon was nearly double in comparison to other lamniform.
Dominating the seas
Lamniform sharks have been major predators in oceans for a long time, dating back to the glory days of dinosaurs. As some occupied the position of apex predators for a significant amount of time, which infers that they contributed to the formation of modern marine ecosystems.
While scientists have believed that the megalodon shark was quite big, the new study offers accurate information about the size of the iconic species, while also representing an important source of data for future studies on the same topic as it reveals fascinating details.
The species reigned the sea for approximately 20 million years, as they surfaced more than 23 million years ago and went extinct approximately 3.6 million years ago. More details can be found in the study, which was published in a scientific journal.