The new 7-inch teeth of a giant prehistoric shark were more for show than power, according to new research

The legendary Megalodon’s blade-like fangs, dubbed the “ultimate cutting tools,” evolved in proportion to its 60-foot-long, 100-ton body

Their development has been discussed for decades – and was previously seen as an adaptation to new eating habits

But although they were more than twice the size of a great white man, they weren’t as strong

A team from Bristol University used computer models to demonstrate for the first time how they work

Antonio Ballell, PhD student at the School of Earth Sciences, said: “We used technical techniques to digitally simulate how different tooth shapes deal with bite forces and loads resulting from lateral head movements

“This method, known as finite element analysis, has already been used to understand how resistant different biological structures are under certain forces

“We expected that megalodon teeth would withstand forces better than those of its older and smaller relatives

Megalodon, which means “big tooth”, is the largest shark that ever lived. Its teeth – the size of a man’s hand – are broad and triangular like no other

The difference was believed to reflect a change in diet. The oldest relatives likely used their teeth to pierce small and fast moving prey

Megalodon most likely used them to bite off large pieces of meat from marine mammals or to dismember such prey with strong side shaking of the head

They have been found all over the world. Shark skeletons are made up of cartilage instead of bone that is not well preserved. Few of them have survived

Megalodon’s head resembled an oversized great white and was the size of a car.It was the apex predator of the oceans – it fed on whales and great whites

Hollywood 2018 blockbuster The Meg with British action hero Jason Statham is based on the monster

The co-author of the study, Dr Humberto Ferron, said, “Our results appear to contradict traditional functional interpretations of the bits of this group of basking sharks

“For example, changes in tooth shape that occurred in the older, smaller species to those of the newer, larger forms such as megalodons are very similar to those seen during megalodon growth”

“Instead of feeding the specialization, we believe that the acquisition of his gigantic body size was responsible for the development of the peculiar teeth of Megalodon”

The results, published in Scientific Reports, follow a US study that shows that eating its siblings made it so big – in the womb

Megalodon lived between 20 and 3 million 6 million years ago. It was already six and a half feet long at birth – and dwarfed most people

It became extinct after global cooling resulted in the loss of tropical waters – its preferred habitat


World news – FI – The blade-like teeth of the legendary megladon shark were “only for show” according to the study