Wednesday, August 10, 2022

What If a Megalodon Swallowed You

South caribbean sea july 21st 2047. well it's finally happened the research institution you work for got word of a massive shark spotted off the coast of panama local scientists confirmed the impossible it's a megalodon and you've been sent with one mission to study this thing up close and within hey it's also your birthday but the cake will have to.

Wait they've already got the specimen ready with enough tranquilizer to take down 10 elephants the meg is immobile but you're on a strict time limit the sedation will wear off in a half an hour all right it's go time the head researcher slaps you on the back good luck down there and remember don't get anywhere near that turbine all right.

They set that up in front of the shark to keep water flowing through its guilds without the continuous flow the mig wouldn't be able to breathe got it and you jump overboard you set the timer in your watch for 25 minutes just to be safe the shark isn't too far under the surface 60 feet long weighing probably.

50 tons it's the size of a train car she's a big girl alright males wouldn't get much bigger than 40 feet you swim closer to her remove one of your gloves reach out and touch her her skin is like sandpaper covered in tiny teeth like scales they curve toward her tail fin and reduce drag as she swims how is it going down there keep it quick.

It's all good dr perez i'll be done before you know it you pull out your tablet and open the x-ray app you hold it in front of you and run it along her body the screen shows all the detail in her strong muscles the red tissue needs oxygen and helps her cruise over long distances then there's white muscle tissue it.

Isn't oxygenated and is only used for sudden bursts of speed you switch the setting to skeletal view all the cartilage the same flexible stuff your ears and nose are made of it keeps the shark lightweight so she can zip through the water without expending too much precious energy and zip she does about 16 feet per second twice as fast as the.

Great white the weight of her own body would crush her internal organs on land since sharks have no rib cage let's see how old you are you zoom in on her backbone it's calcified just like her jaw making them both stronger you do a crosscut of one of the discs in your app the vertebrae have bands just like rings and trees.

They tell the sharks age and growth history you count them 15 she's about halfway through her life her skull is made of a denser cartilage to protect the shark's y-shaped brain the snout is spongy and flexible easily taking blows without breaking 20 minutes left on the sedation what's your status the lead researcher radios in again muscular and.

Skeletal analysis are done moving on to the sensory organs roger that you swim up to one of her black beady eyes a chill goes down your spine it's as if she's looking right at you a helpless piece of meat her next meal hey girl if only you had eyelids to let me know you're definitely knocked out behind her eye you see a tiny hole hey.

Found your ear sharks obviously don't have outer ears but their hearing is still impeccable this mega fish could hear you thrashing in the water from 10 football fields away it's the low frequencies of irregular splashes that catch her attention they mean one thing wounded prey.

From there you follow her lateral line a line of pores extending down the sides of her body it's a special system in sharks that detects the slightest movements in the water how far away the source is which direction is coming from basically a shark's entire body is like one giant ear just gonna examine your nostrils my dear.

Strictly for sniffing out prey they don't lead to the throat and respiratory system like in humans meaning sharks can't sneeze the smallest hint of an odor runs into the nasal passage past folds of skin covered in sensory cells they send the info to the olfactory bulb which leads to the brain in great whites the nose can pick up a single drop of.

Blood in an olympic-sized pool you look at your watch ten minutes left you examine her gills water flows through them and the gills extract oxygen from it this is also where the body gets rid of co2 essentially carrying out the function of lungs but the oxygen to carbon dioxide exchange.

Happens at the cellular level and the blood is what transports it you switch to circulatory view there it is the s-shaped heart it's small compared to her body size and has only two chambers the heart sends blood to the gills where it picks up oxygen and moves on to the body tissues the muscles constantly moving and propelling the shark through.

The water warm up the blood this can only happen because the veins and arteries moving to and away from the heart are located so close to each other blood that's warmer than her environment and not dependent on it unlike other fish allows the meg to hunt in cooler waters as well even if she prefers warm areas that means nothing can hide from.

Her everything about her body is designed to sniff out and gobble up any prey we're getting some fluctuations in the vitals come on wrap it up almost done one thing left the thing you've been avoiding her mouth and digestive tract you swim up to her jaws careful to keep.

Your distance from the current flowing into her face her jaws have been propped open for better examination and they're enormous ten feet across nine feet high you could stand in her mouth with a friend on your shoulders they can open up to 100 degrees enough to fit the biggest prey out there large fish whales even other sharks she needs 2 500 pounds.

Of food a day more than the average person eats in a whole year the jaws can come down with thirty thousand pounds of force like being crushed by a car the great white can only boast a jaw force of four thousand pounds humans a piddly one sixty and those teeth 250 of them in five rows they're razor sharp and can cut right.

Into whale bone the teeth are slanted back towards the throat so nothing can escape their grip the biggest ones are the size of your hand fascinated even hypnotized you swim a little closer just a couple more inches when whoosh the turbine's current carries you straight into her mouth the force of the.

Water is pushing you against the back of her throat your x-ray scanner shows a mouth chock full of sensory cells lucky for our species sharks don't really like the taste of human but they only realize that after an initial taste test that's why sharks bite people not to eat them just to sample what's on the menu you pull out an apple-sized metal sphere and.

Push it into her throat the probe makes its way through the esophagus a shark's food chute isn't a skinny tube like ours it's wide and barely indistinguishable from the stomach the stomach is u-shaped and full of extremely strong acids and enzymes those turn whatever the shark has swallowed whole these animals don't chew their food into a mushy liquid from.

There the soup moves into the intestines they're relatively short for an animal this size but evolution came up with a clever trick to increase the surface area the inside of the intestine is shaped in a spiral this is so she can absorb the nutrients from her meals meanwhile on board her vitals are coming to life perez tries to radio you but a.

Jumbled message barely gets through your earpiece hear me i'll kick up what hello do you read me you look at the timer five minutes you should be able to swim out against the current hopefully as the probe makes its way through her digestive tract from within her mouth you grab one more x-ray of her.

Body cavity you see the liver it's massive takes up 90 percent of the space in there and accounts for 25 percent of her weight it's full of oils and helps with buoyancy in the water but then you see something moving within her it's a pop shark babies are ready to hunt on their own as soon as they're born this meg pup must be seven feet long but this.

Means she's not the only one just then the turbine shuts off your timer starts beeping hey i still technically have five minutes wrong the shark starts to move you swim out of her mouth as fast as you can and with all your might head back to the boat she's still a little groggy but miss maggie can swim she beelines toward.

You just as you break the surface the team grabs your hand pulls you on board and the boat speeds away at that moment the meg comes leaping out of the water she follows you for a while but loses interest soon enough that was too close happy birthday to me hey time for some cake.

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