Sun, 25 April 2021
The gang discusses two papers that look at the ecology of the ancient shark Megalodon. One paper uses our knowledge of modern sharks to fill in the missing data on what Megalodon could have looked like, and the other looks for evidence of Megalodon nurseries in the fossil record. Meanwhile, Amanda cares too much, James spreads “facts”, and Curt would really like to find a segue.
Up-Goer Five (Curt Edition):
Our friends talk about two papers that are about a really big angry animal with large teeth that moved through the water and is known by a lot of people. This animal with big teeth lived a long time ago and would have eaten other really big animals. But because most of this animal is made of soft parts, we do not know a lot about what it would have looked like. So the first paper uses other animals which are very close to this big animal (but not as big) and see how they all look to see if bigger things look the same. They find that they can guess what parts of these animals should look like just by looking at their teeth, which is cool! They then use this to guess what this really big old animal could have looked like.
The second paper looks at how these big animals would have raised their babies. Some places where we get teeth from these big animals do not have a lot of big teeth, while other places do not have a lot of small teeth. This paper looks at these places to see if the change in how big the teeth are is important. They find that some areas really do have more small than big teeth. Some areas also have more teeth that are between being big or small. It seems that smaller animals (babies) lived in some areas, and then when they get bigger they move out.
Herraiz, Jose L., et al. "Use of nursery areas by the extinct megatooth shark Otodus megalodon (Chondrichthyes: Lamniformes)." Biology letters 16.11 (2020): 20200746.
Cooper, Jack A., et al. "Body dimensions of the extinct giant shark Otodus megalodon: a 2D reconstruction." Scientific reports 10.1 (2020): 1-9.