Calvert Marine Museum Curator of Paleontology Dr. Stephen J. Godfrey reviews “THE MEG” movie

SOLOMONS, MARYLAND – August 29, 2018 – In spite of research indicating that megalodon became extinct about two million years ago, this monstrous apex predator is still alive! …in an even deeper section of the Marianas trench concealed by a thick cloudy layer of hydrogen sulfide. That is the premise of this action-packed movie, which if you suspend belief in reality, is rollicking good fun. Megs make it to the surface when this otherwise confining layer of sulfide is breached by a rescue submarine.

Along the way you will learn that megalodon is attracted to lights (especially flashing ones), submersibles, and as expected, they don’t discriminate between good and bad guys, although puppies are always safe. My favorite scene featured a hungry meg launching itself onto a boat to scavenge another recently captured meg. I rather enjoyed the ride because there were so many laugh-out-loud moments…not that they were all intended to be funny. Fortunately, Jack Morris (Rainn Wilson) saves the movie from taking itself too seriously.

As a paleontologist who has published scientific papers on the attack/feeding habits of megalodon, I was delighted to see that movie meg devoured whales. We know that they did during the Miocene epoch because of meg-tooth-marked fossil bones that we find along Calvert Cliffs. However, how a huge predator with a high metabolic rate and highly active lifestyle could survive seven miles below the ocean surface in a warm environment (warm water holds less oxygen than cold water) where there are no organisms making oxygen, is just one of its scientific fatal flaws.

I guess when it comes to megalodon and movies, reality doesn’t matter. You can rest assured that megalodon is no more alive in the deepest ocean trenches than Tyrannosaurus rex is still alive in Montana. Just to see megalodon in action, I’d watch the movie again and would give it a 7 out of 10.

Whether you have seen the movie, liked it or not, come to the Calvert Marine Museum to see our reconstructed life-size skeleton of megalodon and our recently acquired megalodon jaws sporting 135 real meg teeth. Both will inspire wonder and awe!

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