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    White shark comparison reveals a slender body for the extinct megatooth shark, Otodus megalodon (Lamniformes: Otodontidae)

    Sternes, P. and Jambura, P. and Türtscher, J. and Kriwet, J. and Siversson, M. and Feichtinger, I. and Naylor, G. and Maisey,, J. and Tomita, T. and Moyer, J. and Higham, T. and da Silva, J.P. and Bornatowski, H. and Long, D. and Perez, V. and Collareta, A. and Underwood, Charlie J. and Ward, D. and Vullo, R. and González-Barba, G. and Maisch, H. and Griffiths, M. and Becker, M. and Wood, J. and Shimada, K. (2024) White shark comparison reveals a slender body for the extinct megatooth shark, Otodus megalodon (Lamniformes: Otodontidae). Palaeontologia Electronica (27.1.a), ISSN 1094-8074.

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    Abstract

    The extinct megatooth shark, †Otodus megalodon, which likely reached at least 15 m in total length, is an iconic extinct shark represented primarily by its gigantic teeth in the Neogene fossil record. As one of the largest marine carnivores to ever exist, understanding the biology, evolution, and extinction of †O. megalodon is important because it had a significant impact on the ecology and evolution of marine ecosystems that shaped the present-day oceans. Some attempts inferring the body form of †O. megalodon have been carried out, but they are all speculative due to the lack of any complete skeleton. Here we highlight the fact that the previous total body length estimated from vertebral diameters of the extant white shark for an †O. megalodon individual represented by an incomplete vertebral column is much shorter than the sum of anteroposterior lengths of those fossil vertebrae. This factual evidence indicates that †O. megalodon had an elongated body relative to the body of the modern white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). Although its exact body form remains unknown, this proposition represents the most parsimonious empirical evidence, which is a significant step towards deciphering the much-debated body form of †O. megalodon.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Earth and Planetary Sciences, Institute of
    Depositing User: Charles Underwood
    Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2024 19:34
    Last Modified: 25 Jan 2024 03:07
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/52781

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