Thursday, 14 January 2021

Megalodon Teeth

Megalodon Teeth 

Megalodons seem to be flavour of the month! Following on from Monday's story we have THIS ARTICLE from Bristol University's School of Earth Sciences.

Megalodon means big tooth and the beast certainly had big teeth, unlike those of other earlier members of the group. This was thought to show that the species diet had changed - the earlier members had curved, blade-like teeth, Megalodon had broad triangular ones. Therefore, it was reasoned, the earlier ones used their teeth to pierce small and fast fish. Megalodon tore off chunks of whales and seals.

But this study, using finite element analysis (described in greater detail in THIS PAPER) shows that Megalodon's teeth were weaker than the earlier ones (allowing for the change in size). This makes a lot of speculation on dietary habits redundant.

And the change in tooth morphology is due to the great size of Megalodon.

Von Mises stress distribution plots in the anterior (Ant.), lateral (Lat.), and posterior (Post.) teeth of the five analysed otodontid species, simulating (a) puncture and (b) draw scenarios with scaled force magnitude. Mesial is left, distal is right. Arrows indicate loading points. Grey areas represent von Mises stress values higher than 5 GPa and 10 MPa in each of the scenarios, respectively.

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