The New York TimesThe New York Times

The Megalodon Was Bigger, Faster and Even Hungrier

By Asher Elbein

17 Aug 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

The megalodon was a megashark, that patrolled the oceans 5 million years ago. This article summarizes recent evidence which suggests they may be even fiercer than previously expected.

Five million years ago, immense predatory sharks patrolled the oceans. Their giant teeth — left behind in coastal sediments like spent bullets — inspired the 1843 name that has since become a household word: megalodon.

Despite the megatoothed shark’s fame, however, the megalodon’s exact size and shape have long been a bone of contention. Because shark skeletons are largely made of cartilage, they rarely fossilize, leaving researchers to make wildly varying estimates — anywhere from 35 to 60 feet — using shed teeth and comparisons with living relatives like mackerel sharks and the great white.

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