about the episode
Found almost everywhere in the world, the basking shark is the megalodon, which became extinct 3.6 million years ago. We don’t know much about the great shark species, because researchers have few usable fossils to work with. A few teeth, some vertebrae. not much.
Still, there are definitely some ideas. About its size – it is believed that it can reach 20 meters in length, habitat and even swimming speed. The researchers now believe they have new information about the latter, based on tiny scales no larger than a grain of sand in which they were found.
It was long thought that megalodon was a fast swimmer, but when researchers checked the scales, they found it was not of the right shape for a fast swimmer. The shark – at about two kilometers per hour – was probably a rather slow cruiser, occasionally running around to catch a snack.
Well, another idea is that the shark was – at least in part – warm-blooded. Recent studies on tooth enamel show this. This may be one of the reasons for the extinction of the animal. But how did the shark consume such a high level of metabolic heat without swimming so fast? Can it be used for something else?
This must be the case, according to the researchers. Megalodon may have been so giant and warm-blooded in part because it had to process massive amounts of food, but not because it had to reach huge speeds.
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