Journal article 14 views 5 downloads
The extinct shark Otodus megalodon was a transoceanic superpredator: Inferences from 3D modeling
Science Advances, Volume: 8, Issue: 33
PDF | Version of Record
Copyright © 2022 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S.Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).Download (302.2KB)
Although shark teeth are abundant in the fossil record, their bodies are rarely preserved. Thus, our understanding of the anatomy of the extinct Otodus megalodon remains rudimentary. We used an exceptionally well-preserved fossil to create the first three-dimensional model of the body of this giant...
|Published in:||Science Advances|
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Check full text
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
Although shark teeth are abundant in the fossil record, their bodies are rarely preserved. Thus, our understanding of the anatomy of the extinct Otodus megalodon remains rudimentary. We used an exceptionally well-preserved fossil to create the first three-dimensional model of the body of this giant shark and used it to infer its movement and feeding ecology. We estimate that an adult O. megalodon could cruise at faster absolute speeds than any shark species today and fully consume prey the size of modern apex predators. A dietary preference for large prey potentially enabled O. megalodon to minimize competition and provided a constant source of energy to fuel prolonged migrations without further feeding. Together, our results suggest that O. megalodon played an important ecological role as a transoceanic superpredator. Hence, its extinction likely had large impacts on global nutrient transfer and trophic food webs.
College of Science
This research was funded by a PRIMA grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (no. 185798), a European Union Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 663830), and an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship to C.P.; an ERC Horizon 2020 Advanced Investigator Grant (no. 695517) to J.R.H.; and a PhD studentship from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles to J.A.C.