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Megalodon sharks gave birth to large offspring that fed on unhatched eggs in the womb: Scientists examined incremental growth bands in fossil vertebrae of a 9.2 meters long individual O. megalodon, revealing that the shark was born large, 2 meters in length, and died at age 46. This large size at birth is characteristic of lamniform sharks and is indicative of live-bearing reproduction along with embryos’ intrauterine cannibalism behavior known as oophagy. The trajectory of the generated growth curve beyond the age of death and the maximum length (about 15 meters) calibrated from the largest known teeth of O. megalodon suggest that the species had a lifespan of at least 88–100 years with an average growth rate of about 16 cm/yr at least for the first 46 years. As one of the largest carnivores that ever existed on Earth, deciphering such growth parameters of O. megalodon is critical to understand the role large carnivores play in the context of the evolution of marine ecosystems. #science #animals #biology #paleontology

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