Terrifying ancient megalodon shark was 50 FEET long – and ate its own siblings in womb to grow large
TERRIFYING megalodon sharks that roamed our oceans millions of years ago could grow to over 50 feet, according to a new study.
The researchers also found the huge predators may have grown to that size by devouring their siblings in the womb.
Megalodon sharks are thought to have lived from around 20 million to three million years ago in oceans all over the world.
It’s thought they would have eaten whales but could have probably preyed on any creature they wanted.
A full skeleton has never been found because their cartilaginous bones don’t preserve well.
This is why scientists rely on discoveries of their giant teeth to try and work out an over all size.
Lots of megalodon shark teeth have been found but never an entire skeleton[/caption]
A new study looked into a group called the Otodus megalodon and estimated they could grow to around 50 feet (15 metres).
In comparison large great white sharks are around 20 feet and the average height for a human male is just under six feet.
The researchers think cannibalistic egg-eating behaviour when the sharks were just embryos may have helped them nourish themselves to such a huge size.
‘The Meg’ is a sci-fi film based on megalodon sharks that was released in 2018[/caption]
Paleobiologist Kenshu Shimada from DePaul University in Chicago and his colleagues focused on tooth height to estimate size before theorising why the sharks grew so big.
They based their theory on what we know about modern day lamniform sharks.
The first shark pup inside this type of shark tends to eat the rest of the eggs so by the time it leaves its mothers womb it’s already large enough to defend itself.
This behaviour is called intrauterine cannibalism.
The researchers think this behaviour along with the right ocean temperatures and food could help a shark to be gigantic.
This study has been published in the journal Historical Biology.
How common are shark attacks?
Here’s what you need to know…
Every year, around 70 shark attacks are reported worldwide – and only a fraction of these are fatal.
Given that there are more than 480 different species, this is a relatively small number.
Only three sharks are considered to carry out unprovoked attacks on humans: the great white, tiger and bull.
When a human touches or aggravates a shark before the creature retaliates, it is known as a “provoked attack”.
There are three different types of unprovoked attacks…
Hit-and-run: This is the term used to describe the most common type of shark attack, which thankfully doesn’t tend to lead to fatal injuries.
In this instance, the shark will bite its victim and leave, usually because the creature has mistaken the swimmer for its natural prey.
Sneak: This attack is often fatal, but it is extraordinarily rare.
In these cases, the creature will wound and bite an unsuspecting victim with the intention of consuming them.
Bump-and-bite: This attack is typical to the great white, where the shark will circle its victim before biting and returning for more.
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In other archaeology news, archaeologists and metal detectorists worked together to unearth an Anglo-Saxon ‘warlord’ in Berkshire in the UK.
A sunken ship has been found in almost perfect condition despite spending 400 years underwater.
And, Ancient Egyptian coffins sealed for thousands of years have been found down a burial shaft.
Are you scared of sharks? Let us know in the comments…
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