Meet the Real Megalodon

Megalodon, meaning big tooth, is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 23 to 2.6 million years ago. For reference, the age of dinosaurs (Mesozoic Era) was 245-66 million years ago — so, 43 million years separated megalodon from the dinosaurs. It’s a fish, not a dinosaur, for your distinction. Just a mega-sized one. And, yes, although it is classified as Extinct, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some sort of hold out in a kind of “lost world scenario — its happened before. We can allow this this conceit without too much suspension of disbelief. Okay so far?

Infographic: How Big is Megalodon?
Infographic: How Big is Megalodon?

It was this big
Megalodon wasn’t just gigantic compared to other sharks; it was gigantic for any marine creature, ever. Fossil records indicate it was up to 59 feet (18 m) from nose to tail. The Megalodon in the movie The Meg is 75 feet (23 m) long. That’s only 27% larger than what the fossils indicate. By Hollywood standards that’s remarkably conservative, especially when you consider that, while not widely accepted by the scientific community, some marine biologists believe Megalodon could have been even larger than The Meg, reaching lengths approaching 82 feet (25 m). (Maybe the creators are saving the ridiculously large Megalodon for Meg II.)

The Megalodon isn’t the only titanitifish — I made that up just now — to get the Hollywood Treatment. The Mosasaurus from Jurassic World was shown chomping on a Great White Shark (as a little Sea-World type “treat”) early in the movie, and then later taking down the Indominus Rex, of which there was no real contest. Mosasaurus was a big gal in the Jurassic World films! It is estimated to have been around 56 feet (17 m) long, roughly the same size of a Megalodon, depending on which scientific paper you put the most stock in.

Quick aside: the Mosasaurus isn’t a dinosaur. It’s an aquatic lizard. Although I doubt if the victims of its appetite had any concern for that distinction while being digested. 😉

Never ask a female Megalodon her weight
It isn’t just the length of the Megalodon that is “jaw” dropping. Its weight is truly unfathomable. Male Megalodons had an estimated mass with an upper bound of around 34 metric tones (75,000 pounds). Female Megalodons were considerably larger than their male counterparts, at 60 metric tons (132,000 pounds). Therefore, realistically speaking, the Meg in question would almost certainly be female.

132,000 pounds is as meaningless as saying it’s 239,000 miles (384,000 km) to the moon. Those numbers are too far outside the realm of experience to grasp. A better way to comprehend the size of a female Megalodon is that it is about 735 times larger than a 180 pound (82 kg) man. If it helps, consider that a 180 pound man is about 735 times larger than a newborn kitten. Therefore: a man is to Megalodon as a kitten is to a man. (With the notable difference: a Megalodon doesn’t look at a man and think, “Awwww, how cute.”…so much as “Mmmm. Scooby Snack”.)  🙂

Teeth. We need more Teeth…
An upper anterior megalodon tooth has been found whose height is 7.25 inches (18.4 cm) , one of the largest known tooth specimens from that shark. By comparison, the T-Rex had teeth that were slightly longer, 9 inches (23 cm) long. However, they were long and thin in comparison to the broad, flat, teeth of a ‘meg’ shark. Thus by mass, the Megalodon had far more massive teeth.

Not only did Megalodon have huge teeth, it also had a lot of them — approximately 250 serrated teeth in a mouth as big as 6.6 feet (2 m) across. The T-Rex had about 50 teeth. Big difference to scientists, but less comforting if you’re the chompee.

Must go faster…
A study linking shark size and typical swimming speeds estimated that Megalodon would have cruised at 11 mph (18 kph), but would have been able to achieve much higher speeds in short bursts.

Habitat is crucial to the story
The majority of Megalodon fossils have been discovered in warm waters. It is believed that oceanic cooling, associated with the onset of the ice ages, coupled with the lowering of sea levels and resulting loss of suitable nursery areas, may have contributed to its decline. Also, a lot of its larger prey species died off. 

 

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie Rewatch Review – Jurassic Park III

I finally  made the effort to rewatch Jurassic Park III – something always came up to distract me, and I’m easily distracted if I don’t want to see the movie in question. But I’m glad I did it: the movie isn’t so bad once you’re aware of the retched parts.

It’s like rewatching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I know Jar Jar and midiclorians are going to bother me. So I just ignore those things and enjoy what’s nice, like the Pod Race, or anything with Qui-Gon Jinn, and the Duel of the Fates lightsaber battle. Anyway. Back to Jurassic Park 3. (See — distracted even now.)

Jurassic Park 3 is an acceptable offering in the series, as long as one acknowledges the really annoying things, like Alan Grant’s little raptor daydream (“Alan”), and the constant yelling the humans do on Isla Sorna. Way to hide from mega predators, guys. Sheesh. They all yell, except Grant (who knows better but no one listens to him). Tea Leoni is the worst, and I feel bad that she had this terribly scripted character to work with. She’s a decent actress, normally. But her presence in this movie marks the series’ nadir…at least she didn’t come to the island in high heels (Hi there, Bryce Dallas Howard).

One thing I totally forgot in JP3 is that this all takes place on Isla Sorna. I thought it was another excursion on Isla Nublar. So this isn’t the T-Rex from the first film: it’s one of the three from The Lost World. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s the juvenile T-Rex, all grown up, who got a taste for human flesh from that dumb villain (who’s name I can’t be bothered with), the one who ran InGen — remember, he was hobbled by the San Diego T-Rex to teach her baby how to hunt.

In any case, this T-Rex, as usual for EVERY Jurassic film, saves the humans by fighting another threat. Seriously. Watch every film in the 5 we have so far, and notice how Rexie saves the day. In this case, she/he fights the Spinosaurus, and dies, which is sad. I like the T-Rexes. They act more like animals than monsters, which is another “bone” (haha) I have to pick with this series. What makes an animal aggressive?

Several things. Hunger. The desire to protect resources/territory or fend off invaders. Protection of their young. To fight potential rivals to their mates. And that’s really it. If you aren’t a threat, and you leave sated large predators alone, they won’t hunt you. This isn’t Godzilla, after all.

In the African Savannah, prey animals can freely walk by a sated lion. Said lion only needs to hunt a few times a week. I don’t know how much dinosaurs need to feed, but I’m going to say that a nice meal should be plenty for awhile for these types of barely warm-blooded species.

And speaking of the Spinosaurus, I don’t know who would win in a fight. They seem evenly matched to me. This video addresses the issue. (I’m Team T-Rex, BTW. He’s much smarter, despite the ridiculous arms.)

Something I did like from the film was the Carnosaurus cameo. While the humans were sticking their arms in gigantic steaming piles of poo, the Carnosaur, who looked ready to attack the humans, sniffs the Spinosaur scat and just…walks away. He knew better than to hang around the Spinosaur’s habitat. That was a nice touch.

What wasn’t good, besides all the yelling, was the satellite  phone. Holy hell. This phone can take being eaten, sitting in digestive fluids, and is workable on the other side of the gastric tube. Not to mention that the kid could hear it ringing while inside the Spinosaur. What kind of magical phone is this? I want one. Also –they hear the phone jingle, but not the footstomps of this 9 ton predator? The movies established that we hear and FEEL the movements of the largest sauropods and theropods. This is yet another nit to not pick, to enjoy the film at all.

So, since this is Isla Sorna, and not the Isla Nublar from three of the five other films, we can assume that there are still dinosaurs on this island, even if (SPOILER) Isla Nublar exploded in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I think the Jurassic World films conveniently forgot about the second island. Things would have been simpler to remember Site B when Fallen Kingdom came around. Continuity can be fun!

What else is notable? It features yet another divorced couple who see each each other in a new light after running for their lives. It has the “dashing” Billy, who I suppose was intended to be a popular character. He’s like a really roughly sketched version of Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady from the Jurassic World films, and not a touch as good.

The ending had pterodactyls flying over the ocean, presumably to the mainland. So…we’ve seen this referenced in several of the films now. And it’s not until Jurassic World 2 that something comes of it. Continuity, people!

Alrighty. Good things from JP3, and there are surprisingly quite a few:

  • Some of the Velociraptors had feathers, which was a nice touch if you know that some of these Oviraptors went on to become birds.
  • Although the Spinosaurus followed the humans across the entire island like a rabid dog, it still acted like an animal and not Godzilla. (We can save that strange behavior for the engineered creatures in the Jurassic World films.)
  • The scene with the embryonic dino incubators was an homage to Aliens, especially with the raptor looking through the tube, giving everyone (and the audience) a well deserved scare.
  • The Hadrosaur running scene was a fun callback. (“They’re flocking this way!”)
  • The obligatory kid was smarter than any of the adults: he survived alone on the island for 8 weeks. He was almost better off not being saved. And how he acquired T-Rex urine? “Better off not knowing.” Heh. One can only imagine.
  • Alan Grant still doesn’t like Ian Malcolm. (“Did you read his book?” “It was kind of preachy.” And Grant sits back, satisfied. That moment kind of completes his arc. )
  • The raptors were smart enough to set a trap for the humans. The implications of this are disturbing, in a good way. (“Clever girl.”)
  • The best scene, by far, was the set-piece in the misty and unstable Aviary. I still get chills from it. It has all the great atmosphere of the best scenes in this series, with a genuine sense of growing suspense, dread, and horror. What an amazing scene. I appreciated that this was a leftover passage from the first Jurassic Park book, as was the ‘jungle cruise’ segment. It’s not a surprise that the better scenes were the ones originally penned by Michael Crichton.
  • They included a scene with some downtime: namely, the conversation in the water truck with Grant and Eric (the kid). All the better movies have these little scenes where the characters catch their breath, since it gives us, the audience, the chance to do so as well. Plucking at our adrenaline strings for two hours makes for an exhausting film experience.
  • The Astronomers vs Astronauts conversation reminded me of Angel’s (the vampire TV series) running conversation about Cavemen vs Spacemen. Probably not a real homage, but: cool.
  • There is one stirring, magical scene, when the little boat goes by a peaceful pasture of herbivorous sauropods co-existing. The familiar musical theme from John Williams swells, and we feel transported. I’m happy the film had that moment.
  • The odd juxtaposition of Barney the Purple Dinosaur on television, while Ellie’s toddler clutches the phone  — with people dying from actual dinosaurs.
  • Cool early use of a 3-D printer, making a raptor vocal organ. And nice callback  use of said organ later.

Well, that’s a decent list of good things from a really poor movie. But I might be grading on a curve, since I love dinosaurs and the original Jurassic Park. After seeing five of these films, I can safely say this one is the worst, but has definite watchable elements. It’s worth viewing for those, if you can ignore the stupidity of humans blundering and yelling about in the brush, ostensibly trying to hide from very large predators. The shouting goes on the entire movie, and only Grant never once gives in to the impulse. He’s not an idiot.

At least, not as completely an idiot. He should have kept to his instincts and not gone to Isla Sorna in the first place.

Movie Rewatch Grade: C

Here’s a fun look at JP3 by Honest Trailers – It’s kind of better than the actual film: 

RunPee’s Jurassic Movie Reviews: 

Jurassic Park – Movie Rewatch Review

Jurassic Park at Universal Studios: Ride Review

Jurassic Park: The Lost World – Movie Rewatch Review

Jurassic Park 3 – Movie Rewatch Attempt Number One

The Jurassic Park Movies Poll

Jurassic World Movie Review

Jurassic World Movie References

Movie Review: Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom, Missed Opportunities

Everything Wrong With the Jurassic Movies (All the You Tube videos in one place)

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Movie Rewatch: Jurassic Park – The Lost World

While enjoying a lovely pint of hand crafted mead at the San Diego Bronto Brew Meadery, I got to view a free social rewatch of the entire Jurassic oeuvre. With Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom opening in the US this week, that’s five fun movies. Or, well, some fun movies and one that sucked (Hi, JP III).

While it’s got it’s detractors, The Lost World is a decent film, the second best in the series. It has a real plot that’s explored organically, with good characterizations, and some intensely riveting dino action.   Its main problem is that it can never be as tightly gripping or simply magical as the original. And it still has the goofy kid sequences that plague the franchise. But let’s talk about what we liked.

How about that RV scene? You know the one. Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, playing Jeff Goldblum), not quite as dead as supposed, talks about the running and the screaming to follow. He’s in that turbo-charged Tech RV ( I WANT ONE) that a T-Rex couple industriously push off the side of a cliff. The humans did, as humans do, something incredibly stupid with the baby T-Rex, and now the parents need to rid their territory of the pesky people, in the most dramatic way possible.

The scene where Sarah lands on the RV window above the crashing coast is the singular iconic moment  in The Lost World. Never mind that someone with her education makes every  mistake from the Megafauna 101 class…at that moment, we’re with her,  holding our collective breaths, as the glass cracks spider outward. Brrr. Good scene. Silly stuff aside (these guys can’t hold that wet, muddy rope in their bare hands, much less

climb it, but whatever), it’s a stirring sequence. When poor Toby from the West Wing dies horribly we wince, and then cheer when the previously antagonist hunters lends their literal hands to save our guys. It’s all the people against the dinosaurs from this point on. 

There are chases, there are deaths. The chicken-sized Compys strike back against an arrogant human, and our unfortunate paleontologist dies a nasty death, somewhere between a snake bite, a waterfall, and one big set of jaws.

Things go pretty good, story-wise, introducing the Raptor area (cool shots of humans being hunted in the tall grass)…and then things start getting wacky. The gymnastics scene is obviously nuts, but the worst offense of The Lost World are the scenes on the ship and in San Diego.

One: If the T-Rex is still contained in the cargo bay, how come the bridge crew was eaten? No matter how many times I watch this, I still don’t understand how we’re supposed to believe this happened. There’s a hand gripping the steering wheel and no body…all while the large animal in question is contained. Below decks. Is there an invisible Raptor onboard?

There’s a scene showing how the T-Rex breaks out of containment after the ship crashes, and goes looking for drinking water (a pool) and food (poor doggy). I live in San Diego, and I don’t think they bothered to actually film down here. There’s some more unrealistic sequences of a hungry T-Rex “downtown” chasing trolleys, flinging cars, snacking on unfortunate people, and running after Tokyo businessmen (okay, the Godzilla nod was cute).

The climax scene, where the industrialist is used as a hunting lesson for the T-Rex Baby is…icky in its implications. I may not have liked the man, but no one deserves to be hobbled and eaten alive. It’s one of the things I don’t like about the Jurassic films: the deaths that people cheer at are just gristly. The assistant in Jurassic World 1 does NOTHING to deserve that horrific Ptherodont/Mosasaurus duo nightmare.  Did she have a villain scene left on the cutting room floor?

And Toby is split into two pieces in Lost World, while being a selfless hero. I guess I’m supposed to find it funny in Jurassic Park Classic when the “bloodsucking lawyer” gets chomped on the loo, but seriously, that’s some awful sh!t happening (no pun intended). I don’t know why that’s played for laughs.

I get it, people die when man meets beast. But I don’t feel good laughing about it. These films walk a thin line at times. But there I am again, talking about things I didn’t like. These movies are intended as a way to eat your popcorn and disengage the brain. These are movies where scientists are the heroes, and I very much appreciate that.

The things that are great: when the movies remember these creatures are animals, not monsters. When we feel the magic of our youth stirred by seeing “real” dinosaurs, and interacting peaceably with them. When John William’s stirring score carries us along, and we are reminded there are wondrous things ahead of us. I hope we might be wise enough to see them come to pass. I hope we will be ready, because, as we know…life finds a way. 

———-

Note: I’m definitely impressed with how John Williams manages to recall the beauty of the first film in his soundtrack, while also setting The Lost World apart with the fanfare of an almost military theme. It doesn’t have the softly nostalgic notes of the first film, but it stirs the soul nevertheless. The man is a national treasure. Get the movie and soundtrack here: 

Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World 1 are playing for FREE at San Diego’s Dino-themed craft beverage Bronto Brew Meadery. Come for two more free nights of giant screen movies, under T-Rex skeletons and beside a giant nest of Brontosaurus eggs. FREE events! Friday and Saturday nights, June 22 and 23, on 9235 Trade Place, D, San Diego, CA 92126 (619) 796 – 3096

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Review: Jurassic Park Ride at Universal Studios

Rexie’s a little old and worn, but the drop is still breathtakingly long.

I love dinosaurs. I was a dino geek before dinosaurs were cool, and to make me stand out even further, I was a “just a girl”. Girls who were geeks in the 70s were a rare breed. Fortunately, I was also a Klingon, so efforts to bully me landed on deaf ears. 🙂 Hell, I was a Dinosaur-riding Klingon.

This Klingon has mellowed over the years, but my fascination with dinosauria is still up there next to my now-mainstream fangirl delight in Harry Potter, Marvel, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and yes — Star Trek. This brings me back around to dinosaurs.

I went to Universal Studios this summer for ONE reason: to proudly wear my Gyffindor student robes, and be selected in the wand choosing ceremony.  And drink Butterbeer. OK, this is more than one reason but it’s all about Harry Potter. And you can read about my amazing HP day in this article (link and photos to be added).

After a long day at Hogsmead Village, my travel companion was looking a little googly eyed, and suggested we do something else in the park. We headed down 1,000 stairs (I don’t think I am exaggerating) to the lower park area, then boarded the log flume that slides under the King-Kong sized entrance — long-time Jurassic Park fans will get the reference. (Can you name the quote in question?)

The ride is still a good one…but it, like the original Jurassic Park movie, has aged. The movie, happily, still wears well. We get goosebumps when seeing dinosaurs the first time, fear levels rising when we watch the unseen Velociraptors feed, blowing to full-on fear in that stainless steel kitchen scene.

When the T-Rex bellows in the erstwhile visitor center, draped in the banner announcing “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth,” I’m one happy human.

 

The ride didn’t fare so well. It seems that several animatronic (“auto-erotic”, anyone?) sauropods forgot how to move. The ride gets bumpy a few times, is a big loud cacophonony, seems a lot shorter than I remembered…and the effect of the chasing T-Rex sticking her head into the waterfall is now rendered campy, instead of scary. It was a jump scare at first, but now I expect it, and Rexie’s looking aged. The best part of the ride is still the crazy long flume drop that seems to go a few more seconds than anyone expects. That’s the best and most obvious thrill.

The last thrill is the most subtle. As the flume logs start backing up at the end, we’re in the diddling around in the Diloposaur Paddock. That’s the poisonous fringed lizard who wouldn’t chase a stick, who decided Nedry looked more delicious. Nedry was a walking pie to those guys, and here they are at the end of the ride, with your log at a jammed stand-still…when a poisonous Dilopsaurus spits RIGHT AT YOU, with that rattling sound.

It’s fun and menacing, and there’s a perfect Easter Egg for fans, right under the low canopy of ferns. It looks at first like someone tossed some garbage at the ride, but JP fans will be rewarded: it’s that can of Barbasol Shaving Cream, the one full of stolen embryos. Very cool, and if you’re not looking for it, you’ll miss it.

My friends, this is world building. Adding the soaring John Williams sound track over it all, you are transported a little away from your cares. The ride clearly needs refurbishment, but with a second Jurassic World movie out this week, making 5 movies in the entire franchise, I’ll bet Universal will “spare no expense” to give the Jurassic Park/World ride its due. I bet Chris Pratt will even reprise his role in it, like he did for the awesome Guardians of the Galaxy Ride at Disney. Jeff Goldblum would be welcome too.

NOTE: The previous time I went to Universal, decades ago, I was lucky enough to walk through with an employee, and she let me run amuck in the lodge/gas station setting where they filmed The Lost World, reprised in Jurassic World. I pretended to be a raptor and chased my friend…and sadly, this was a long way before smart phones and so I don’t have photos. Also, this area of the park burned down. In the words of Dr. Ian Malcom, “So, so there it is.”

This article is brought to you by John Williams. Actually via Amazon’s Alexa, playing Williams. I’m sitting here penning the ride review while listening to this iconic  score. Here’s a link to the soundtrack, and the teeshirt to wear on the ride and at the Jurassic movies! Show your Geek cred!

Related News: Jurassic Park Ride Goes Extinct

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Jurassic World – Movie Review

jurrasic-worldGrade: B+

I have mixed feelings about the movie. The story, and most of the characters, drag the movie down. I’d give that part of the movie a C-, at best.

Chris Pratt is definitely a bright spot. He’s perfectly cast for the roll of Owen — the raptor wrangler. He can be funny when he’s serious and likable when he wants to be.

Claire, played by Bryce Howard (Ron Howard’s daughter), was surprisingly good. I don’t want to give away anything so I’ll just say that I like what they did with her character.

I thought the least likable part of the movie was the two young brothers. Clearly the writers were trying to echo the characters of Timmy and Lex from the original Jurassic Park, but they came up way, way, short. Their entire story arc was useless.

The dinosaur action, which is what everyone is going to see, I’d give an A+. (Or should that be a Yay+?) It started awesome and got better as the movie went on. In my theater the audience applauded after two separate action scenes and again at the end of the movie.

What was lacking was good tension. Too often the story leaps into action without sufficient buildup. Thinking back to Jurassic Park, the tension was palpable because of the pauses between the action, not the action itself. They didn’t really capture that in this version.

I saw it in 2D, but the rest of the RunPee family saw it in IMAX 3D and thought it was worth every cent. After opening night there are 53 votes from RunPee users who saw the movie in 3D. 83% recommend seeing it in 3D.

If the story was better this could easily have been better than the original, but it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Read our rewatch review of Jurassic Park

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.