Friday, March 13, 2009

Great whites used to be bigger

Great white sharks can exceed 6 meters (19 feet) in length and weigh over a metric ton. That's big enough to scare anyone, but now we know the species used to get bigger a well-preserved juvenile specimen over 5m long indicates the adult length used to be in the range of 9m. As Dana Ehret, lead author of the article describing the new specimen, puts it, "We now think that broad-toothed makos and fossil white sharks probably reached lengths upwards of 30 feet in the past, while the largest substantiated [living] white sharks are approximately 21 feet." The fossil also indicates the great white shark did not, as once thought, descend from the extinct giant Megalodon.

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