Megashark gets more mega, according to Science Alert and SciTechDaily 9 June 2021, and Palaeontologia Electronica DOI: 10.26879/1140.
The size of the extinct giant fossil shark now named Otodus megalodon (used to be Carcharodon) has been re-estimated using the size of its teeth compared with teeth from the living Great White shark, then using the Great White’s body proportions as a guideline. Over the years a formula has been developed using the height of a fossil tooth to calculate the size of the shark it came from. Estimates based on this formula have ranged from 15 to 18 metres, but when Victor Perez of the Florida Museum of Natural History got school students to measure Megalodon teeth and use the formula they came up with wildly differing estimates.
Part of the problem is that shark teeth vary in height according to where in the jaw they are located. So, it is necessary to know where in the jaw the tooth comes from. After studying a near complete set of megalodon teeth in the Florida Museum of Natural History, along with teeth and jaws of living sharks, palaeontologists have come up with a new formula based on the width of the teeth. The researchers now consider this a more accurate indicator as the width of the teeth is related to the width of the jaw, which is related to the overall size of the shark. Using the new formula the scientists have increased megalodon’s size to an estimated body length of 20 metres (65ft).
There are still some limits to how accurate this new formula can be as there is no way to know whether Megalodon’s teeth had gaps between them or overlapped, as seen in some living sharks. Victor Perez of Florida Museum of Natural History, one of the researchers, commented: “Even though this potentially advances our understanding, we haven’t really settled the question of how big megalodon was. There’s still more that could be done, but that would probably require finding a complete skeleton at this point”.
He still uses the shark teeth and the formula as a school lesson. He explained: “Since then, we’ve used the lesson to talk about the nature of science – the fact that we don’t know everything. There are still unanswered questions”.
Links: Science Alert, SciTechDaily
Editorial Comment: It is important for students to understand the nature of science, including its strengths and limitations. In this example the size of teeth can be accurately measured, but as the scientists admit they are not able to observe the precise arrangement of teeth in the megalodon jaw, so they must make assumptions based on living sharks. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is important to acknowledge what is actually observed vs what is assumed.
Whatever the real size of Megalodon sharks, they were certainly a lot bigger than any shark observed in the present-day oceans. This should lead scientists to ask why the change? However, they will not find the answer just by studying present day sharks or fossil shark teeth. They need to know the real history of the world, i.e. that it started out very good, and therefore could support giant animals, but has since been degraded due to human sin and God’s judgement. Science will not reveal this. Only the written record of the Creator and Judge can reveal this, and scientists should be humble enough to admit it, and then use it to better understand the results of their study of the present-day world.
Creation Research News 16 June 2021
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