Can you imagine what life would be like if you were swimming and traveling through the ocean with eighteen-meter long sharks lurking just below the waters? Believe it or not, there was a time when the ocean was inhabited by ancient, giant sharks, which we now call Megalodon. Megalodon sharks are not only the largest sharks that have ever lived, but also one of the biggest predators that have ever existed. The oldest fossils of Megalodon sharks date back to 20 million years, and have just gone extinct for an estimated 3.6 million years.
Previously known as Carcharodon or Carcharocles Megalodon, these ancient sharks have been topics of many “what if” videos and even thriller films. But when you look at them, perhaps the first terrifying thing you will notice are their massive teeth. Sharks are carnivorous, with rows of sharp, pointed teeth. Megalodon teeth are pretty much the same, just way bigger and drastically more terrifying!
How Big Are Megalodon Teeth?
Its scientific name, Otodus Megalodon, says it all –it directly translates to “big tooth”, which gives justice to the ancient shark’s unique quality. The biggest Megalodon teeth that have been recorded measures 7 inches long, which is nearly three times longer than the longest modern white shark teeth, which generally extends to about 2.1 inches long.
Although Megalodon teeth can measure up to seven inches long and more, the shark’s average teeth size ranges from 3 to 5 inches. One of the world’s largest discovered Megalodon teeth was unearthed from a coastal river bed in South Carolina, which measures 7 ¼” inches long, by fossil hunter Vito Bertucci, also known as the “Megalodon Man”.
How Big Are Megalodon Sharks?
Fossils and studies suggest that Megalodons grew about 60 feet long back in the day, but some research estimates that the largest Megalodon shark may have grown up to 80 feet long, which is the same height as a mid-rise building. This size is more than three times longer than the biggest great white shark ever recorded.
The adult body mass of a Megalodon shark has been estimated to range from approximately 30 metric tons or approximately 66,000 pounds to more than 65 metric tons, approximately 143,000 pounds, with adult females being significantly larger both in length and mass than male adults.
What Do Megalodon Teeth Look Like?
Because Megalodon teeth are serrated, triangular, and symmetrical, they are comparable in appearance to the teeth of current white sharks. This structure suggests that Megalodon sharks had a similar diet to modern-day sharks and other marine species.
Modern white shark teeth differ from their fossil counterparts as they are bigger and thicker. The serrations on each tooth are spaced at regular intervals, and they have a darker, chevron-shaped zone near the tooth’s root, called a bourlette.
Where Can Megalodon Teeth be Found?
Megalodon teeth have been discovered in several locations across North America, most notably along the depths of streams in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina, among other places. Every continent has been known to unearth Megalodon teeth, except Antarctica.
Megalodon tooth fossils have been unearthed in many other countries too, such as the Philippines. The Southeast Asian country is home to several great white sharks, which are studied to be closely related to Megalodons. A single tooth fossil from a Megalodon shark was unearthed in Barangay Jandig, Bohol, and has been identified to come from a Megalodon’s fossil. The National Museum received it in May after it was donated by the residents. The tooth is about 3 inches long and 2.5 inches wide.
What Do Megalodons Eat?
With the shape of their teeth, Megalodons are believed to eat a diet that comprises whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, large fish, and other or smaller sharks.
Scientists have also found little evidence of whales as Megalodons’ prey from fossilized whale bones. Some of these have been discovered with the puncture wounds of megalodon teeth engraved into the surface of the rock.
Despite being a popular subject of modern-day thriller films, Megalodons are not likely to have existed at the same time as humans, as they went extinct way before humans existed, so there was no way Megalodons fed on humans back in the day. But with their large, serrated teeth, they could have done so if they had existed alongside humans, so lucky for us!
How Many Teeth Do Megalodons Have?
Megalodons possessed an estimated 276 teeth, and a jaw that opens 2.7 to 3.4 meters or 9 to 11 feet wide, apparently huge enough to swallow other huge sea creatures and adult-sized humans side by side.
Megalodon Bite Force
Researches, including a recent 3D analysis of a megalodon’s bite, show that its bite force measures between 108,514 and 182,201 Newtons (N), which is ten times stronger than the bite force of great white sharks, which have been believed to measure up to 18,216N, and five times the bite force of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. For a better comparison, the bite force of a human being has been measured at approximately 1,317N.
Do Megalodons Lose Their Teeth?
Sharks keep making teeth for the rest of their lives. Every one to two weeks, sharks constantly lose a set of teeth. Sharks, as well as Megalodons, can lose up to 40,000 teeth in their lives, so it isn’t a surprise that Megalodon teeth fossils are frequently unearthed, especially in South Carolina’s rivers.
How Much Are Megalodon Teeth Worth?
A single tooth from a Megalodon shark that was thought to be the largest that was ever found sold at an auction for five times its expected worth. At the live auction, LiveActioneers.com expected the 6.5-inch serrated tooth would not sell for less than $450, but bidders took the price to $2,600!
More from A-Z Animals
The Featured Image
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.