Teeth fossil of Megalodon (left) and great white shark (right)
(Mirror Daily, United States) Researchers are amazed by the importance of their latest discovery. A teeth fossil reveals a new shark species, which is assumed to have lived approximately twenty million years ago, in the Miocene epoch. Researchers believed it is a worthy ancestor of great white sharks that are roaming our oceans today.
The new shark species was called Megalolamna paradoxodon. The Greek denomination suggests the sizes and the sharpness of the teeth. The ancient predator is now extinct. Based on the information provided by the teeth fossil, specialists estimate that the animal must have been twelve feet long, which is comparable to the sizes of present-day great white sharks.
Experts also determined that the Megalolamna paradoxodon used to swim in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They found evidence of its existence in several countries in the world, namely Japan, Peru, North Carolina, and California. The evidence consists merely of fossil teeth.
Archeologists found five teeth which account for the existence of this new, but extinct, shark species. They measure almost two inches and show that the animal had very pointy and sharp teeth. The Megalolamna paradoxodon used to feed on fish. It used its front teeth for grasping and its back teeth for slicing its prey.
The discovery of the teeth enabled researchers to compare the extinct Megalolamna paradoxodon to shark species that still exist today. The twelve feet long are the equivalent of approximately four meters. This means that it was actually smaller than the great white shark, which can be as long as six meters. However, it is still close to other large species, such as Mako sharks and sand tiger sharks.
Researchers are aware that the teeth fossil can’t provide enough information to establish the specific sizes of the Megalolamna paradoxodon. The proportion between teeth and body size can be tricky sometimes, as some of the specialists admit.
The experts who studied the teeth fossil also suggest that the Megalolamna paradoxodon might be a close relative of Carcharocles megalodon. They are both extinct species, but fossils account for their existence. The Megalodon is one of the largest shark species ever discovered. It could reach eighteen meters in body length.
The new study on the Megalolamna paradoxodon and its impressive teeth was published in Historical Biology, on October 3.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia