While you may know that the megalodon (Otodus megalodon) is the biggest shark to have ever lived, it can be hard to wrap your head around just how big they were, especially because they’ve been extinct for millions of years. However, thanks to scientists, we’ve been able to create a fairly accurate image of these prehistoric sharks. This includes more detailed megalodon size comparisons.
Have you ever wondered if what swimming with a megalodon would be like? Or if they were bigger than dinosaurs? We’ve created this complete megalodon size comparison guide so you can see just how these extinct rulers of the sea would measure up to you, blue whales, dinosaurs, and even the modern-day great white!
How Big is a Megalodon?
One of the coolest parts of science? It’s always changing, and, as a result, we’re always learning more about animals – even those that have been extinct for 3.6 million years like the megalodon.
In fact, it wasn’t until June 2021 that we began to get a better idea of just how big these extinct sea giants were, and it all starts with a high school class realizing the formula previously used to estimate the length of the megalodon wasn’t quite right.
Up until then, scientists estimated that the megalodon was probably around 50 to 60 feet long. However, with the new advancements we’ve been able to make, it’s not estimated that megalodons were around 65 feet long – that’s the same a two school buses!
While they may get as big as only two school buses, they certainly weigh more. In fact, with an estimated weight range of anywhere from 28,000 pounds (for smaller mature males) to more than 143,000 pounds (for the largest females), a single megalodon may have weighed as much as almost six school buses!
And, with teeth as long as seven inches (the same length as a butter knife), the megalodon is definitely not a sea animal you’d want to swim with.
It’s no doubt that megalodons are one of the largest animals to have ever existed. However, how do they measure up to humans and other deep-sea giants?
Megalodon vs. Human Size Comparison
While you may have already decided that you wouldn’t want to come face to face with one of these prehistoric giants, do you know how big you’d be compared to one?
Well, let’s just say you won’t need a megalodon size comparison guide to know you’d been an easy snack for these giants.
First, you wouldn’t be much larger than the megalodon’s dorsal fin, which scientists have estimated to be around 5 feet and 3 inches tall. You would be less than half the height of their tall, which could be nearly 13 feet tall – that’s about half the length of a London bus!
Many museums have replica megalodon jaws available that you can take pictures in. Most people can fit perfectly inside the mouth of these giant sharks, which had a width of nearly 7 feet and housed over 250 teeth in five rows.
In terms of weight, just a megalodon’s tooth can weigh more than a pound. The average human tooth? It only weighs around 0.018 ounces, or 0.0011 pounds. That means it would take around 900 human teeth to weigh as much as a megalodon’s!
Megalodon vs. Blue Whale
How does the largest shark to ever have existed measure up against the largest animal in the world? Believe it or not, the blue whale is able to tip the scale in both size and weight compared to the megalodon.
If we examine the largest megalodon size estimates, they max out at about 227,510 pounds – more than 2 Stonehenge Sarsen stones. However, at a minimum average weight of 290,000 pounds, the blue whale dwarfs these prehistoric sharks.
With the largest blue whale ever recorded weighing in at 418,878 pounds, the largest blue whale was likely at least 75% larger than the largest megalodons.
Blue whales can also grow to be well over 80 feet (the largest reached 110 feet!), 20 feet longer than the megalodon would have been. This means there’s about half a telephone pole of distance between these sea giants’ heights.
However, since the megalodon’s jaw span is large enough to swallow two human adults standing side by side, there is a possibility it could have hunted the docile blue whale, who wouldn’t have been able to put up much of a fight against five rows of butter-knife size teeth.
In fact, there’s likely a reason why blue whales evolved after megalodon went extinct. Its believed that baleen whales began getting more gigantic because of the absence of apex predators like megalodon that would be able to hunt them.
Megalodon vs. Mosasaurus
While a prehistoric shark species, the megalodon lived after the largest dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
The mosasaurus is an extinct reptile that lived around 66 million years ago (more than 40 million years before megalodon roamed the season). While they never shared the ancient oceans with the mosasaurus based on fossil records, what does a mosasaurus and megalodon size comparison look like?
Fossils of the largest mosasaurus found that these reptiles could grow up to 56 feet long, which is nearly 10 feet longer than the height of the letter in the Hollywood sign. However, this is still shorter than the megalodon, though only by about 4 to 11 feet.
Mosasaurus also only weighed around 30,000 pounds, a mere fraction of the megalodon’s massive 100,000-plus pound frame! In fact, it would take around nearly 8 mosasaurus to even out the scale with the largest estimates of megalodon size!
Megalodon vs. Great White Size
Believe it or not, but the great white sharks of today are actually relatives of the megalodon sharks of the past. Both of these mackerel sharks are known for ruling the ocean, but would they “sea” eye to eye?
In fact, many researchers focusing on megalodon size comparisons estimate that the megalodon could be up to 50 times larger than their modern descendants. While the great white is easily one of the largest sea creatures today, even this shark that reaches a maximum of 5000 pounds is nothing compared to megalodons that were anywhere from 20 to 50 times bigger.
At 7 inches long and nearly a pound in weight, even the megalodon’s tooth is larger than the great white’s, which rarely exceed 2 inches in length!
In terms of length, the megalodon wins again. While the great white sharks we know so well today can grow up to an amazing 20 feet – which is about the same size as one and a half Volkswagon Beetles – it would still take nearly three full-size adult great whites to reach the same length as a megalodon.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock.com
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