MEGALODON! The undisputed monarch of all sharks. Possibly the largest and most powerful flesh-eating animal to ever inhabit Earth’s seas. Star of cheesy novels, cheesier made-for-TV movies, and even cheesier pseudo-documentaries. And surprisingly enough, underrepresented in the world of prehistoric toys.
There is ongoing debate as to whether megalodon belongs in the Carcharodon genus like today’s great white shark, or in the older Carcharocles genus. In the mean time, most scientists simply employ the name C. megalodon.
The 2014 Wild Safari C. megalodon measures a respectable if not astounding 18 cm long. Its colour scheme is based on that of a great white shark: medium grey on top with a snow white belly, void black eyes, pink gums and mouth interior, white teeth, and black accents for the nostrils and gill slits. There’s also black wash along the edges of the fins which frankly doesn’t look all that good. And annoyingly, the toy is so front heavy that it tends to rest on its chin.
At first glance, this animal appears identical to a great white. Closer inspection, however, reveals that the dorsal f in is proportionally larger and the caudal fin is fatter. As well, the snout is rounder and less conical, closer to that of a tiger shark. No one knows for certain what C. megalodon really looked like (and it’s unlikely anyone ever will), but this seems like a reasonable reconstruction.
This particular individual is a female, as indicated by the absence of claspers between the pelvic fins. Female sharks are generally larger and more powerful than males, especially so with great whites, so again, it’s reasonable to assume the same for C. megalodon. This individual is also clearly about to attack some unfortunate prehistoric whale. Its cavernous mouth is wide open and its upper jaw has dislocated from the skull, thereby extending the bite radius for maximum impact. The roof of the mouth is covered in realistic-looking ridges that extend all the way into darkness and there are multiple rows of triangular teeth. Possibly due to safety concerns, the teeth appear to be oversized and have not been sculpted particularly sharp. And unless C. megalodon‘s dentition was radically different from that of the great white, the rows of replacement teeth should not be extending so far back into the mouth. It’s still a pretty scary-looking set of chompers, but hardly accurate.
While not what I would call a terrible toy, the Wild Safari C. megalodon has its share of problems. The colour scheme could have been a bit more original (dark blue or brown with spots would have been very cool) and the scale doesn’t do proper justice to an animal that was around the size of a tractor trailer, but those are purely personal preferences. The inaccurate rows of teeth, however, can be a glaring problem, especially for shark enthusiasts. Ultimately, I still like this toy, but I do hope we get a bigger, better representation of this greatest of sharks someday.
Available from Amazon.com here.