Ancient megalodon sharks might have been at least 2 metres long at birth– and they may have grown so big by consuming unhatched eggs in the uterus.
Kenshu Shimada at DePaul University in Chicago and his coworkers analyzed an Otodus megalodon fossil that was recuperated in the 1860s from 15-million-year-old rock and is now housed at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Studying the shark’s vertebrae, permitted them to approximate its body size at different phases in its life.
” Megalodon’s size at birth had to do with 2 metres in overall, which shows that it needs to have provided live birth like all contemporary lamniform sharks do,” states Shimada. .
Comparable to how a tree trunk has yearly development rings, the shark vertebrae has development bands. By counting these, Shimada and his group recommend that this megalodon specimen passed away at 46 years of ages.
Previous research studies into O. megalodon have actually counted on proof from its teeth to approximate body size. This is since teeth are typically the only part of a shark to fossilise, as its skeleton is made from cartilage and not bone. Studying unusual vertebral stays is crucial foring more information about ancient sharks, states Jack Cooper at Swansea University, UK.
The big birth size of O. megalodon recommends that the young sharks, like numerous contemporary sharks, consumed unhatched eggs in the uterus to endure– a phenomenon called intrauterine cannibalism.
” The repercussion is that just a couple of puppies will endure and establish, however each of them can end up being big in body size at birth which provides [them] a benefit as currently big predators,” states Shimada.
While the brand-new research study has actually offered details on the development pattern in between birth and midlife, we still understand little about megalodon development later on in life.
Journal recommendation: Historic Biology, DOI: 10.1080/ 08912963.2020.1861608
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