When Tim Flannery was a boy he found a fossilised tooth of the giant shark megalodon at a Port Philip Bay beach near his home. This remarkable find—the tooth was large enough to cover his palm—sparked an interest in palaeontology that was to inform his life’s work and a lifelong quest to uncover the secrets of the world’s largest ever predator, the great shark Otodus megalodon.
Tim passed on his love of the natural world and interest in the fossil record to his daughter, Emma, a scientist and writer. And now, together, they have written a fascinating account of this ancient marine creature.
Big Meg charts the evolution of megalodon, its super-predator status for about fifteen million years and its decline and extinction. It delves into the fossil record to answer questions about its behaviour and role in shaping marine ecosystems as well as its impact on the human psyche. It contains stories of the scientist and amateur fossil hunters who have scoured the seas, and land, for fossil remains, drawn to the beauty and mystique of the great shark, sometimes meeting their death in the process.
Like the fossil record itself, this enthralling story is a piece of the great natural history of our planet.
‘Tim Flannery scores again, diving into the murky myth-filled waters surrounding the world’s biggest predator, and surfacing with a breathless true story stuffed with astounding facts and personal experience.’
‘Big Meg is big fun! It’s packed to the gills with gobsmacking facts, insightful conjecture, and personal observation from two world-class scientists and explorers…a megaladon of delight for any shark-lover!’
‘Flannery is a writer who sneezes at political correctness and charges into the densely land-mined territory of the biological determinants of human behaviour.’
‘Written in easy-to-understand language and he sets out a positive path for this planet’s future.‘
‘The extraordinary story of a fascinating piece of natural history.’
‘[Big Meg] presents some gripping insights into the brilliant detective work carried out by a whole range of scientific experts…exemplary in the way it draws clear lines between speculation, fact and fiction in a way that any lover of good detective stories would appreciate. Above all, the authors’ passion for their subject matter is contagious. If you have little interest in fossils and sharks when you start this book, you are in danger of becoming an enthusiastic bore on the subject when you have finished it.’
‘Tim Flannery and Emma Flannery present an engaging, easy-to-read, holistic, and intelligent story of Big Meg…Insights from arts, history, anthropology, traditional and popular culture, archaeology, mythology and religion offer enjoyable, holistic understandings.’
‘The Flannerys communicate the science with the fidelity of seasoned palaeontologists without losing the breathless wonder of a seven-year-old talking about sharks at the dinner table…A fascinating read.’
‘A compelling history…Big Meg both entertains and informs.’