The Meg’s True Size According to Math

Here’s a question that probably popped into your head while watching the trailer for The Meg: How gigantically freakin’ huge is that massive behemoth of a prehistoric shark exactly?

Or, in other words, if one were to try and weigh and measure it as if it were about to fight another giant beast in the sea ring (say, Godzilla), what weight class would we have to put that bad boy in?

Let’s try to figure it out using some simple math, which, expectedly, yields some massive numbers.

Note: We’re only speculating about the Meg in the movie with these numbers, we’re not taking into account any measurements that may have been written in the book. 

via Giphy

First things first: If you check out the Wiki for The Meg movie, it lists the mondo, cartilaginous fish as having a length of about 75 feet. In fact, it’s basically an in-film fact that the Meg is 75 feet long based on an official Warner Bros. press release. But for the sake of this little bit of research, let’s suppose that that number is a bit off. How far off exactly? Well, to figure out what we think is the most accurate measurement of the oceanic beast, we thought it’d be reasonable to measure it based on the poster. (Just roll with us here, we’re talking about a giant fictional shark.)

Image: Warner Bros.

Looking at the above poster, we’re going to go ahead and guess that the Meg is not 75 feet long, but in fact 88 feet long. Why this be? Because of the surfboard underneath the guy at the front of the shark—the guy wearing the yellow top and blue trunks who’s definitely about to be shark food.

Assuming Mr. Shark-Lunch is cruising along on a six-foot-long surfboard (he’s probably about six feet tall and he’s as long as the board, so he’s not paddling on a nine-foot-long longboard) then we have a reasonable reference for scale.

Taking that board for reference, we can measure it out and say that (roughly) 1.25 cm of length in the poster equals six feet. Which means we can now measure the Meg to about 11 surfboards/12.38 cm, or 66 feet long.

But wait, that’s only two-thirds the Meg in the poster! How do we know it’s only two-thirds? Well, just look at this anatomical scaling of a shark.

Shark diagram. Image: Wikimedia / Chris_huh

See how the rear of the first dorsal fin is almost exactly half the shark’s body? In the poster, the Meg is cut off a bit farther down beyond her first dorsal fin. So we’re looking at about two-thirds of the Meg in the poster, and that means that, in total—after calculating (11×6) + (11×6)/3—it’s 88 feet long. (We can also use our surfboard reference to find the span of the Meg from fin tip to fin tip, which is about 66 feet.)

But how about mass?! That’s probably the most mind-blowing indicator of size anyway. Now that we know the shark’s length, we can use that to scale up the Meg’s very close living relative, the Great White Shark.

Taking a very large female Great White Shark could measure to about 20 feet long and weigh in at 5,000 pounds. So if a 20-foot-long Great White Shark is 5,000 pounds, then an 88-foot-long Great White (the Meg) would be… 22,000 pounds. Which sounds impressive, except that number is way off for even an average megalodon, let alone an 88-foot-long one. So what gives?

Apparently, megalodons actually had way more mass hung on their bodies than Great Whites do. (A decent way to explain this would be to imagine a dachshund versus a stocky pit bull puppy. They may be the same length, but the pit is going to have a lot more mass.)

The Great White is in green. The megalodons are in grey and red. Note that “The Meg” would be 28 feet longer than the grey Meg here. Image: Wikimedia / Scarlet23

Considering that, to find the Meg’s mass, let’s scale up a 56-foot megalodon, which is estimated at 131,000 pounds, to 88 feet; the result is about 205,857 pounds. Which means that a megalodon the same length as an 88-foot-long Great White would have an extra 183,857 pounds of mass. This may sound extremely unbelievable, but real estimates of megalodon mass are on that order. (Also, keep in mind that there are Blue Whales that weigh 300,000 pounds, so there’s plenty of precedence for sea creatures that size.)

Blue Whales can weigh around 300,000 pounds. Image: Wikimedia / NOAA

So there you have it! The Meg is roughly 88 feet long, has a fin span of 66 feet, and weighs in at a truly monstrous 205,857 pounds. If you weren’t scared of this thing before, you certainly are now, right? Unless you’re Jason Statham, of course.

What are your thoughts on this Meg math? Do you think we’re way off with these estimates or right on the money? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Images: Warner Bros. Pictures

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