CMM Hosts International Lecturer, Jack Cooper, For Virtual Talk On Megalodon
Jack Cooper

SOLOMONS, Md. – In honor of National Megalodon Day (June 15), Calvert Marine Museum will host international lecturer, Jack Cooper, for a virtual presentation on Megalodon: The morphology and ecology on 2D and 3D modeling; and the importance of this iconic species in studying shark functional diversity. The virtual lecture will take place on Wednesday, June 15 at 6 p.m. via Zoom (invitation link below).

A great diversity of sharks have roamed the oceans for millions of years, performing a variety of ecological roles – most famously as apex predators. Among such sharks of the past was the biggest shark that ever lived: the 20 m megalodon. Its enormous teeth have become iconic fossils in paleontology, found all over the world including in Maryland. With no complete skeletons yet known, scientists are forced to use modern sharks and what little they have of the fossilized skeleton to infer this giant’s morphology and ecology. Now, a 2D reconstruction based on living sharks, and a new 3D reconstruction based on an exceptionally preserved vertebral column, have revealed unprecedented new clues about how this shark moved and ate. Are any living sharks appropriate analogues to this giant? How did its diet of whales affect its movement or energy intake? Can we even be sure what it looked like without a complete skeleton? And how does modeling an extinct apex predator help us study shark functional diversity as a whole – in the past, present or future?   

Jack Cooper is a PhD researcher at Swansea University (Wales, UK) investigating the functional diversity and ecology of sharks through time using the fossil record. Originating from Scotland, Jack received his bachelor’s degree in Evolutionary Biology from the University of St. Andrews, and his master’s degree in Paleobiology from the University of Bristol. Despite expanding his horizons to a whole range of Cenozoic sharks for his PhD, Jack continues to keenly study the morphology and ecology of megalodon; the biggest shark that ever lived – resulting in his first paper in 2020; and several more in development. This iconic shark is very often the center of Jack’s outreach activities. He has appeared on several podcasts, radio and news interviews, and a documentary promoting the wide and ongoing research on this animal. Additionally, he has also worked in ecotourism and conservation in South Africa, where he has cage dived with great white sharks. Jack is funded by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles, and is a member of the Pimiento Research Group, which aims to better understand the extinction mechanisms sharks faced in the past, and to use that knowledge to inform conservation efforts for today’s sharks. He is also a cat person. 

Topic: Fossil Shark Lecture

Time: Jun 15, 2022 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Explore how the prehistoric past, natural environments, and maritime heritage come to life and tell a unique story of the Chesapeake Bay. The Calvert Marine Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is $9.00 for adults; $7.00 for seniors, military with valid I.D, AAA and AARP members; $4.00 for children ages 5 – 12; children under 5 and museum members are admitted free. For more information about the museum, upcoming events, or membership, visit the website at www.calvertmarinemuseum.com or call 410-326-2042. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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