Megalodon, The Giant Prehistoric Shark: Size, History, Teeth, and Facts.

Megalodon (scientific name: Carcharocles megalodon) It is a member of the extinct species of megatooth shark (scientific name: Otodontidae) which became extinct about 3.6 million years ago. Megalodon, known simply as “Meg,” was the largest species of fish that ever existed. The giant shark is believed to have been a cosmopolitan species (could be found anywhere on Earth) that existed from approximately 15.9 Ma (Mega Annum) to approximately 2.6 Ma (Pliocene), based on the global distribution of its fossil. .

History

The Meg was a continental species of shark. Its fossils have been recovered in various places around the world, particularly along the coasts and continental shelf areas of all continents except Antarctica. It appeared mainly in subtropical and temperate latitudes. It has been discovered at latitudes as high as 55° N and is said to have withstood temperatures between 1 and 24°C. It lived in a variety of aquatic habitats and had a nomadic lifestyle.

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Source: Wikipedia | The yellow dots represent Meg’s fossil discoveries from the Pliocene and the blue dots represent the Miocene era.

The distribution of Megalodon grew throughout the Miocene, encompassing the waters off the coasts of northern Europe, South America, southern Africa, New Zealand and eastern Asia, as well as areas in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas. the Bay of Bengal and along the coasts of California and southern Australia. However, its distribution declined substantially during the Pliocene, and by the end of the epoch the shark became extinct.

Size

The megatooth shark is the largest shark that has ever existed on the planet. Due to the size and shape of its teeth, it was assumed to be an apex predator with a length of up to 18 meters. To estimate its body length, scientists have used the quantitative correlation between the size of Megalodon’s fossil teeth and the teeth and body mass of contemporary white sharks and their other living relatives.

The researchers conclude that mature megalodons had an average length of 10.2 meters (33.5 feet), with the largest individuals reaching a length of around 18 meters (59 feet).

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Source: Nature.com | A full length megalodon shark compared to a 1.65 meter human.

Some researchers and scientists say the largest specimens of the prehistoric giant may have measured up to 25 meters (82 feet) long.

The shark’s adult body mass ranged from 30 metric tons (30,000 kg or 66,000 lb) to more than 65 metric tons (65,000 kg or 143,000 lb). Adult females were larger, both in length and mass, than adult males.

Megalodon was able to completely swallow prey the size of today’s predators while swimming at speeds faster than any current shark species.

Teeth

The longest known Megalodon tooth measures approximately 7 3/8 inches long. Few specimens have been discovered with teeth longer than 7 inches.

Megalodon’s teeth are triangular, serrated and symmetrical, like those of contemporary white sharks. They are larger and thicker, with even spacing between the serrated edges of each tooth, and have a bourlette shape. (a deeper V-shaped area near the base of the tooth) compared to modern white shark teeth.

It has been hypothesized that Megalodon fed preferentially on small to medium-sized cetaceans, such as the extinct Piscobalaena Nana and Xiphiacetus Bossi. Species related to modern humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) or blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were among their largest prey.

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Source: Fossilera.com | A side-by-side comparison of the Megalodon tooth (left) and the Great White tooth (right)

Megalodon had a ferocious bite that was several times larger than the bite of an average-sized 3 meter (about 9.8 ft) white shark.

Facts

  • Megalodon may have had the strongest bite of all sharks, with jaws about 10 feet wide. It is said that he consumed 2,500 pounds of food a day.
  • It is assumed to be partially warm-blooded and it is theorized that it may have hunted in colder waters.
  • The megalodons were gigantic, even the babies measured at least 6.6 feet long from snout to tail.
  • A megalodon fossil has been discovered off the coasts of every continent except Antarctica. Between 2007 and 2009, researchers found juvenile Megalodon teeth in the waters off the Panamanian coast and believe it was once a breeding ground for the giants.

Is Megalodon still alive?

Currently there is some confusion about the existence of the prehistoric giant. The truth is that Megalodon became extinct at the end of the Pliocene. The confusion among the general population is due to the fact that in 2013 Discovery broadcast a documentary with the title “Megalodon: The monster shark lives”, during Shark Week. The documentary, which was a collection of clips showing evidence of the shark’s existence, was also posted on YouTube and racked up millions of views in a matter of days. Due to the credibility of the Discovery network, people began to believe that Megalodon was still alive and thriving somewhere in the depths of the ocean.

However, it was a mockumentary, a fictional video made for the sole purpose of entertaining the masses.

So, no, Megalodon is not alive today.

The shark was previously believed to have gone extinct 2.6 million years ago, however new evidence has come to light that the apex predator may have gone extinct much earlier. Scientists around the world now believe that the Meg became extinct 3.6 million years ago. However, the exact time when the last species died is unknown.

During the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, the Megalodon was the demon of the seas. Their extinction has long been a mystery. Numerous factors could have influenced the extinction of megalodon. But the most popular theory is that of the planet’s cooling.

Since adult sharks relied on tropical waters, falling ocean temperatures likely caused considerable habitat loss. As a result, the megalodon’s prey could have become extinct, or it could have adapted to colder waters and moved to an area where sharks couldn’t follow it.

The Megalodon acted as an ocean liner super predator and played an important role in the ecosystem. Therefore, their extinction likely had a major impact on hierarchical food webs and global nutrient transmission.

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References:

https://www.britannica.com/animal/megalodon/Predators-and-prey

https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/sciadv.abm9424

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/paleobiology/article/bodysize-trends-of-the-extinct-giant-shark-carcharocles-megalodon-a-deeptime-perspective-on-marine-apex-predators/ 03A62B39329A8595DD129EEC9BE8A065

https://scholar.google.co.in/scholar?q=megalodon+shark+research&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

https://www.fossilera.com/pages/megalodon-vs-great-white-tooth-size

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-61644215

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalodon#Locations_of_fossils

Categories: Optical Illusion
Source: sef.edu.vn

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