|The Bryant Shark teeth are tiny compared|
to a giant megalodon tooth.
It took nearly 40 years, but researchers have finally collected enough fossil teeth in Alabama to properly identify a previously unknown species of ancient shark — one that was a possible ancestor of megalodon, the largest shark to ever exist.Still looking for that 7 inch Meg tooth. The best I have is barely 5 inches.
The newly identified mega-toothed shark lived about 83 million years ago, during the dinosaur age. Its largest tooth discovered so far measures about 1 inch (2.7 centimeters) long, which is substantially smaller than the 7-inch-long (17.7 cm) teeth sported by megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon), the researchers said in a new study.
"Over time, the sharks in the megalodon line acquire [tooth] serrations, lose their cusplets (the little 'fangs' on the sides of the main cusp) and grow to enormous sizes," said study lead researcher Jun Ebersole, director of collections at the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, Alabama. The newfound shark is an early member of this family, so its teeth are small and unserrated, with up to two pairs of cusplets, he said.
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He added that it's difficult to calculate the length of C. bryanti based on its teeth alone. However, the shark's crown teeth are similar to a those of a mako shark, even though the two species are not related. "Thus, using recent makos as a modern analogue, the Bryant Shark may have reached lengths of up to 15 feet [4.5 m]," Ebersole told Live Science.