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Italy AndresVida Offline
Animal Enthusiast

Most up to date reconstruction of Otodus Megalodon and agruably also my favorite one.

*This image is copyright of its original author
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Apex Titan Offline
Regular Member
( This post was last modified: 09-21-2022, 06:54 PM by Apex Titan )

Here's a predation account showing the devastating power of a small, young Megalodon around 20 ft in length.

A powerful megalodon thrashed an ancient whale, scientists find

*This image is copyright of its original author

In the seas millions of years ago, whales were regularly hunted.

Megalodons, bus-sized sharks, are believed to have been dominant ocean predators some 20 to 3.6 million years ago. The now extinct marine legends almost certainly munched on large prey, and now scientists have unearthed fascinating evidence of such a predatory event. Fossilized clues suggest a small whale was ambushed, bitten, and dramatically thrashed by this colossal shark species.

"To have been on the receiving end of a megalodon attack would have spelled almost certain doom," Stephen Godfrey, the curator of paleontology at the Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland, told Mashable. Godfrey was an author of the new research published in the science journal Palaeontologia Electronica.

You see, megalodons had giant jaws, big enough to easily swallow multiple humans at once. And these jaws held 276 teeth that were replaced by the thousands throughout their lives. That's why fossilized megalodon teeth are so commonly found. I have one on my bookshelf. With so many teeth to spare, an animal has the ability to be an adventurous predator, biting at will. They can waste teeth on haphazard bites.

 "To have been on the receiving end of a megalodon attack would have spelled almost certain doom."

"I see predation by megalodon as being violent and almost without parallel, although killer whales today probably come close," Godfrey explained. "If you don’t 'care' about breaking your teeth during an attack, you as a predator could be reckless, acting without restraint or caution."

Yet the whale whose vertebrae were recently uncovered likely survived a violent, long-ago megalodon attack. At least, for a couple of months or so.

*This image is copyright of its original author

The megalodon attack

A fossil collector for the Calvert Marine Museum, Mike Ellwood discovered the 15 million-year-old fossils, which included two whale vertebrae and a megalodon tooth. Importantly, this big tooth was found touching one of the whale fossils.

The tooth had a chip, meaning it was damaged, perhaps by impacting bone, said Godfrey.

Meanwhile, one of the vertebrae showed evidence of extreme trauma: Specifically, a fracture created by intense compression. A CT scan (which gives extremely detailed views of body structures) confirmed the broken bone and how it was altered. Something caused the whale's spine to sharply and unnaturally curve, which rammed one of the vertebrae into the other. The force was so strong, it broke the front end off the smashing vertebra. "This would have been an excruciatingly painful injury for the whale," a press release about the research explained.

From the sheer severity of the broken bone, Godfrey suspects a megalodon attack. The encounter could have sharply bent the whale's backbone, perhaps as the shark violently thrust upward (as illustrated in the graphic above). The bite, it should be noted, would have come from a relatively "small" megalodon — judging from the size of its tooth — at some 20 feet long. (They grew up to some 60 feet long).

"Yet, it was able to cause such damage to this whale," Godfrey noted.
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