Researchers revealed the true scale of a Megalodon shark in a new study, noting that it is three time as big as a great white shark.

A team from the University of Bristol and Swansea University has determined the size of the megalodon shark, including its fins, which was reported to be as large as an adult human.

The megalodon used to live about two to three million years ago, and has attracted fame after several Hollywood movies including The Meg.

Researchers used mathematical methods and comparisons with its living relative, such as the great white shark which often measures more than six meters in length.

Results show a 16-meter megalodon is likely to have had a head 4.65 meters long, 1.62 meters tall dorsal fin, and a 3.85 meters long tail. This means an adult human can be about the same height as its dorsal fin.

“Megalodon was actually the very animal that inspired me to pursue palaeontology in the first place at just six years old, so I was over the moon to get a chance to study it,” said Jack Cooper, who has a master’s degree in palaeobiology from the University of Bristol’s school of earth sciences. “This was my dream project. But to study the whole animal is difficult considering that all we really have are lots of isolated teeth.”

Previous studies showed researchers have compared the megalodon to a great white shark, now they expanded it and included five current-day species of shark. They tested whether the living animals changed proportion as they grew, but found it was not the case.

“This means we could simply take the growth curves of the five modern forms and project the overall shape as they get larger and larger – right up to a body length of 16 meters,” Cooper said.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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