Megalodon is the biggest shark that has ever existed. Its enormous teeth have become some of the most iconic fossils in paleontology and are found all over the world, including right here in Maryland. These fossils have given scientists unique insights into how this extinct shark lived and fed, capturing the imaginations of generations and even Hollywood. But with no complete skeletons known to the fossil record, paleontologists are typically forced to rely on living sharks, especially the living great white shark, to get an idea of its size and appearance. Moreover, calculations of its body length from its teeth have given researchers an idea of its massive size, but do not reveal its complete profile. Now, 2D and 3D reconstructions of this giant predator are being created to understand more about its morphology and feeding ecology. What living sharks are appropriate comparisons? How tall was Megalodon’s dorsal fin? And how many calories did this shark need to eat per day to justify its gigantic size?
Jack Cooper is a PhD researcher at Swansea University investigating the functional diversity and ecology of sharks through time using the fossil record. Jack received his bachelor’s degree in Evolutionary Biology from the University of St Andrews, and a master’s degree in paleobiology from the University of Bristol. His published and ongoing research currently specializes in recreating the morphology and ecology of Megalodon, the biggest shark that ever lived – his dream job since first learning of the giant shark at only 6 years old. He has also worked in ecotourism and conservation in South Africa, where he has cage dived with great white sharks. Jack is funded by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles, and is a member of the Pimiento Research Group, which aims to better understand the extinction mechanisms of the threats sharks face today, and to use that knowledge to inform ongoing conservation efforts.
* Natural History Society of Maryland’s Fossil Club is a group of novice and more experienced collectors will meet to exchange knowledge and help with fossil identification, discuss fossil locations, as well as other fossil related topics. Monthly meetings are held the first Wednesday of every month at the Natural History Society of Maryland. Due to COVID, NHSM is opening up this club meeting to all. Non-members are asked to donate $5. If you are a fossil enthusiast, please consider joining (https://www.marylandnature.org/club-membership/). The Natural History Society of Maryland is a volunteer-led non-profit organization, so the fee you pay will go directly to support the programs, the nature collections, and the building that make this kind of nature education possible.
Follow this link to register for this event, https://www.marylandnature.org/get-involved/events/event/more-than-teeth-megalodons-morphology-and-ecology/
- NHSM Fossil Club Member: $0
- Non-Member Donation Option : $5
- COVID Impact Option : $0