In 2018, The Meg—a movie co-starring Jason Statham and a titular Meg(alodon)—simultaneously underwhelmed audiences and grossed approximately $530.2 million globally. The film proved if nothing else that all logic and economic reason can be cast aside if you make an endearingly gruff, shiny-scalped action hero battle a big ass shark.
It also proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that Megalodons of yore pretty much looked exactly like a great white shark, just, y’know, mega... which is why we’re extremely confused to hear scientists make the irrational claim that no one actually knows what a real Megalodon looked like as it last swam the Statham-less oceans 3.6 million years ago.
In a new study published over the weekend in the scientific journal, Historical Biology, paleontologists argue that “all previously proposed body forms for [Megalodon] should be regarded as speculations because there are no scientific means to decisively support or refute the accuracy of any of them.”
Given that the only pieces of the apex predator lending themselves to fossilization are teeth and vertebrae, the paper’s authors contend that we can’t simply assume the Megalodon looked like a 50-foot great white shark.
“I would not be surprised if Megalodon indeed looked like such modern species that have been used as analogs, but the new study suggests that it cannot be scientifically substantiated based on the present fossil record,” paper co-author and paleobiology professor at DePaul University in Chicago, Kenshu Shimada, told VICE via email...
Which still doesn’t track for us. After all, we (vaguely) remember watching The Meg. It looked like a big ‘ol great white, which is objectively badass. For all its pacing faults, there’s no reason to believe The Meg would ever lie to us.
Not only that, but past Shark Week’s Megalodon search missions seemed to also support this paleobiological supposition. Did anyone check to see if Prof. Shimada watched either of these reliable scholastic sources? Maybe they’d change their tune if they did.
Send Great Job, Internet tips to firstname.lastname@example.org