Megalodon Compared with

Other Giants

At a length of more than 50 feet (15 metres) and a mass of nearly 50 tons (tonnes), Megalodon was both larger and heavier than Tyrannosaurus rex.* In fact, Megalodon is the largest predatory fish that ever lived and is second only to the Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) as the largest predator our planet has ever produced. It is therefore interesting to estimate a few key measurements, based on Gottfried, Compagno, and Bowman's reconstruction. In a Megalodon with a total length of 52 feet (15.9 metres), the first dorsal fin would be over 5.5 feet (1.7 metres) tall, the pectoral fins would each be over 10 feet (3.1 metres) long, and the tail would be over 12 feet (3.8 metres) tall. The girth (maximum diameter) of such a shark would be about 32 feet (9.7 metres). It's not too hard to imagine a shark ten feet (3 metres) long, but how about one 10 feet thick? If you could see a 52-foot Megalodon from above, it would measure more than 30 feet (9.5 metres) from pectoral fin tip to fin tip. It is difficult to think of such a creature as a fish - more like a city bus with fins! And let's not forget a mouth big enough to swallow a rhino, and armed with teeth up to 7 inches (18 centimetres) tall. 

Click on any animal below to see more information on its identity, maximum size and a little about it.

Giants:  Past and Present

Human Polar Bear White Shark African Elephant Tyrannosaurus rex Whale Shark Megalodon Humpback Whale Giant Squid Sperm Whale

* = T. rex is no longer the largest carnivorous dinosaur; that distinction is held by Gigantosaurus caroliniiT. rex is used here due to its familiarity. Besides, no matter who's the biggest, T. rex is the hands-down favorite of most dinosaur enthusiasts.



ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research
Text and illustrations R. Aidan Martin
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