Hunting for a Megalodon
Earlier on today, we received an email from a person in France. They had just purchased a static display model of a Megalodon shark on Ebay and they were curious to find out more about this particular model. Having searched online they found an article written by us sometime ago about our search for a model to represent this huge predator of the Miocene and Pliocene.
To read our original Megalodon article: Megalodon Makes its Debut.
It is always a pleasure to hear stories from model collectors that have succeeded in finding a model that they have been looking for. Our emailer kindly sent us the link so that we too could view their purchase. The model in question is one that we have not come across ourselves and it is certainly a representation of a large lamnid shark. The model shark is mounted on a base, the body supported by an inconspicuous rod. The model and base plate show lots of fine detail. We were a little surprised to read that the base of the model also featured an upturned boat that was supposed to be on the seabed as the shark swam by. This is a little perturbing as Carcharodon megalodon is believed to have become extinct many hundreds of thousands of years before boat building took place. However, perhaps the model maker exercised a little bit of licence when creating the model, Indeed, there are a number of cryptozoologists that believe that this gigantic shark is very much still with us, although most scientists are happy to state that any sightings made are probably just large Great Whites (Carcharodon carcharias). The model originates in the USA and a television series on Cryptozoology called “Monster Quest” did feature Megalodon. We think this particular model is related in some way to the TV series.
You never know, and a 15-18 metre Megalodon may one day get caught, after all, look at the Coelocanth as an example.
The problem is that scientists (and model makers for that matter), are not really certain what Megalodon or many fossil sharks actually looked like. The problem is that the shark skeleton is largely comprised of cartilage and this only fossilises in very exceptional circumstances. Although teeth of the Megalodon are known from a number of sites around the world, the appearance of this animal as seen in scientific journals, books, films and on TV is based on assumptions.
The current debate is whether Carcharodon megalodon as a neoselachian (modern shark) is more closely related to the Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) or a Great White (Carcharodon carcharias).
When it came to finding our own model of a Megalodon shark we used our knowledge of the current fossil record (none of us are specialists when it comes to studying Elasmobranchii – sharks and rays), but we calculated a set of dimensions for this particular animal and then we started our search.
One of our team members was given the task of tracking down a reasonably priced, accurate model that would act as a substitute for the Megalodon. One of the areas of greatest difficulty was determining the size and shape of the caudal or tail fin. This fin has a tremendous amount of variation amongst shark genera. It provides thrust and directional power for the animal and the shape and size of the tail fins can often provide researchers with clues as to the lifestyle, habits and hunting strategy of sharks. After much research the Great White model from the Schleich marine range was chosen. Ironically, the Great White model from Schleich has a caudal fin that is similar in dorsal and ventral appearance to the caudal fin of Tiger Sharks and since the relationship between these neoselachians remains unclear this is one of the reasons why we chose this particular replica. This has recently been replaced by the Wild Safari Dinos Megalodon (Safari Ltd) in Everything Dinosaur’s prehistoric animal model range.
Our Carcharodon megalodon Model (Great White)
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
We also liked the colouration of this particular Schleich replica, we had been working on a new description of the pliosaur – Liopleurodon and devised a suitable suggested colour scheme related to proposed ambush technique of this predatory shark.
To view Megalodon models and dinosaur toys: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.
It is always exciting to hear about a successful model hunt for a collector. The model purchased by our emailer is an excellent example of shark model making and it looks really good.