The megalodon’s tooth size and five more mega-shark facts

Olivia Olphin September 4, 2020
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

This mega-shark is one of the deadliest predators to have lived on our planet. Megalodon tooth size alone shows just how formidable a foe this creature was. Here are some more gnarly facts about this prehistoric Jaws star.

Imagine the final scene of Jaws but with a shark three times the size. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” would be the understatement of the century.

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In prehistoric times it seems size really did matter. Keep reading for some astounding facts about the world’s largest predator.

Megalodon’s tooth size

The largest megalodon tooth found is about seven inches (17.8cm) long. That’s right, the megalodon’s tooth size was bigger than the largest mobile phones.

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A megalodon’s tooth is more than twice as long as that of our modern apex predator, the great white shark. The largest confirmed great white shark tooth is less than three inches long.

Megalodon’s huge weight

The megalodon is supposedly the largest predator to have lived. Estimates place the meg at between 15 and 18 metres in length, that’s three times longer that the largest recorded great white shark!

Adult great white sharks can vary from 4.5 to 6.4 metres. The meg powers past the great white and is about the size and weight of a small train carriage!

You may have seen blockbuster movie The Meg in which humans battle a humongous sea-dwelling creature that’s out for blood. It has been suggested female megalodons may have been twice as large as the males. It turns out the actors were battling a ferocious female! Eat that, Jason Statham!

What did the megalodon eat?

If you’re that big you’ve got to keep up regular snack times. Fossil evidence reveals the megalodon fed on large prey such as humpback whales, dolphins and even other sharks.

Megalodon teeth have been found with the tip broken off after biting into whale bones. This is the unfortunate result of a feeding frenzy a few million years ago. No wonder the megalodon’s teeth are so large.

The meg is believed to have possessed one of the most powerful bites of all time, even more powerful than a T-Rex. The megalodon’s bite force is estimated at about two tons, more than 20 times that of a human. A megalodon’s enormous chomp could bite a small whale in half!

A fossil shark tooth from the largest shark to ever live, the extinct Megalodon. Found in the Gulf of Mexico off the west coast of Florida.

Where did they hang out?

Megalodon teeth have been found all over the world, including North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, India and New Zealand. In fact they were so adapted to tropical and sub-tropical waters they have been found on every continent except Antarctica. However, although teeth have been found in the UK they are extremely rare and of low quality.

Why did the megalodon become extinct?

Climate change! Oceans cooled, sea levels dropped and the world underwent drastic climate adjustments. This would have put a lot of pressure on the megalodon as many of the creatures it relied on for food would have disappeared or decreased.

Surprisingly, the megalodon and dinosaurs never co-existed. Dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago and the earliest megalodon fossils were found in the Miocene Epoch – about 23 million years ago.

We’re looking at you Jurassic World!

What does its name – megalodon – mean?

Megalodon is short for carcharocles megalodon, which means giant tooth in Ancient Greek. You can certainly see why this enormous creature was given such an epic name.

All we can say is we’re delighted these creatures no longer dwell in the ocean depths.