It’s a lazy afternoon by the beach. A young woman is swimming playfully in the bay, beckoning her lover to come join her. She seems to be having the time of her life, almost frolicking in the serene waters. Suddenly, the music builds, the suspense grows. Suddenly, a massive shark attacks her, capturing the lady in its jaws and dragging her down to the deepest depths of the ocean, never to be seen again. Such is the start of the classic movie that cemented the image of sharks as terrifying beasts in the eyes of humanity.
The beast featured in these movies shocked audiences all over the world with its ferocious nature and massive size. However, if any of those moviegoers had been present a few million years prior, they would have seen a watery beast that makes the great white shark look like a mewling kitten: The megalodon shark. This massive shark existed during the Cenozoic Era between 10 and 2 million years ago and was the apex predator of its time.
Size of megalodon
The megalodon shark was a truly enormous creature, with adults reaching lengths of up to 20 meters (65 feet). That’s roughly as long as one and a half school buses! Moreover, the creatures would typically possess an astonishing 276 teeth, with each tooth reaching an average length of 18 cm (7 inches). Moreover, megalodon shark families were absolute terrors for every creature underneath the sea, as the size of the prey they required would change over the course of their life cycle. Younger megalodon sharks would typically eat entire scores of small-to-middling size fish, while adults would almost exclusively prey upon large whales.
Furthermore, megalodons were considered cosmopolitans, a term which means predators that ruled as kings over the entirety of the ocean. Despite their mobility, however, the megalodon sharks preferred living in more temperate waters, as they were quite weak to cold temperatures. These giant beasts were also said to be quite cunning, doing short work of even the most resourceful of prey.
Now, one may wonder, “What exactly happened to the megalodon sharks”? What could have possibly driven such awesome creatures to extinction? Well, according to some theorists, the fault may lie with the sharks themselves. Firstly, it should come as no surprise that megalodon sharks had voracious appetites. It’s said that these appetites may have been directly responsible for their downfall, as their continuous gluttony caused other fish to evolve to become smaller and faster, depriving them of an important food source.
It’s theorized that this was followed by a mass migration of whales. Supposedly, the global cooling that took place at the end of the Cenozoic Era led the whales to migrate to the Arctic Regions. This naturally left the megalodon sharks without a food source, causing their species to disappear from the Earth. At least, that’s the way it seemed.
The hype around megalodon largely evolved because of a documentary, or so-called “mockumentary” by Discovery Channel a few years ago. And therefore, recently, some have begun supporting the idea that the megalodon shark may, in fact, still be alive today. Reports from all across the ocean have begun funneling in about the sighting of some new type of shark. Sailors claim that these sharks are far larger than any creature has any right to be.
They say that these are sharks that could sink ships, all on their own. These reports have led some to support a new idea concerning the megalodon shark. These people say that these fearsome beasts may not have actually died but instead evolved to live in the darkest depths of the ocean. They say that the megalodon shark has lived near the bottom of the ocean for millennia and is only now surfacing for some unknown reason.
However, there are some problems with that theory. According to the information we have now, the decline of the megalodon shark was a relatively quick event. This means that it would be phenomenally difficult for the species to evolve in any significant way. Moreover, there is the problem of temperature.
One of the reasons for the megalodon shark’s eventual extinction was the migration of the whales to the Artic, the one area of the ocean where the sharks could not follow. Unfortunately, the deeper areas of the ocean are similarly cold. This means that it would be impossible for the megalodon shark to penetrate that far into the ocean.
That does not mean, however, that these reports should be discounted. The ocean’s depths are vast and largely unexplored, after all. Even though we don’t have real footage of the megalodon where it has been caught on camera, it is entirely possible that there is some type of enormous shark deep within the ocean. It seems, however, that this must be some entirely new creature. One thing is for sure. There’s no telling what may lie at the bottom of the ocean.