In Search of Megladon
A Marine Predator Without Equal.
The Megladon was a shark that scientists believe went extinct over 200 million years ago. Its fearsome fossils are found all across the globe and it was a fearsome predator that hunted in the seas long before a time of human dominance. It is believed that this gigantic ocean predator survived on a diet of blubber rich whales and a cannibalistic approach to other members of the shark family during the early Miocene through to the later Pliocene period of our planets history.
The Megladon Shark or Carcharocles megalodon, gained its name due to the size of its massive teeth. Its name means "big tooth" and discoveries of its fossils certainly point to teeth that dwarf those of its nearest living relative, the Great White Shark. The teeth of the Megladon are the largest shark teeth that have ever been discovered by Archaeologists. This shark was a monster, whose size was possibly the reason for its own downfall. Towards the end of the Pliocene period in time, its prey had become more illusive and it struggled to feed itself in a rapidly cooling oceans.
Comparison of a Great White Shark and Megladon.
Great White Shark
7" in length.
3" in length.
Seals and Whales.
Alleged Sightings of Megladons.
Like all alleged sightings of marine animals, there is a certain amount of misidentifying of the subject and some flexibility with the truth. Every fishermen tends to exaggerate the dimensions of that fish that got away and every shark encounter that is survived, is usually embellished for a greater narrative when recounted to their buddies later on. Of course fear has an impact on the judgment of a witness. If you are diving and come face to face with a large shark in open water, your mind will not be too hung up on those kinds of details. Unfortunately, not many people can remain rational in unexpected and stressful encounters.
There have been alleged sightings of Megladon all across the globe. Fishermen in Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico to name but a few.
Most alleged sightings come from fishermen who are capable of differentiating between Great White Sharks, Whales and a mega shark such as the Megladon Shark. Since the Discovery Channel released their mockumentary Megladon Lives in 2014, more and more alleged sightings have been reported. Until one of these Megladons is either caught or killed, we are unable to prove their existence.
A Theory on Survival.
One interesting theory that could explain the Megladon's alleged survival is this. Megladon Sharks are believed to be related to Great White Sharks, they in turn are linked to both the Long-Fin Mako and Short Fin Mako. In nature, it has been observed that the Mako shark has the ability to reach a massive size when certain conditions are met. The Mako Shark can undergo a massive growth which changes the dimensions of the Mako Shark drastically. It is able to morph into something very similar to the Great White Shark. Its body becomes less streamlined and it gains much more bulk, making its body weight increase by a third.
If a Great White Shark undergoes this kind of behaviour, then a grander Great White could be mistaken for the Megladon Shark of the distant past.
The largest recorded Great White Shark measured a whopping 37 feet after it became trapped in a Herring weir at New Brunswick, Canada, although this record is still disputed.
Off the coast of Cuba, Great White Sharks in excess of 20 feet are recorded quite frequently and they would weigh around 2,000 lbs. Imagine if a grander Great White did occur, using the same rules as a Grander Mako Shark. You would end up with a Grander Great White Shark with a length of 35-39 ft and a weight of 2,600 lbs. When you compare that to the Megladon Sharks alleged measurements, the dimensions of a "beefed up" Great White Shark may still fall some way short of those of the Megladon.
An example of a Grander Mako
Exploring the Evidence.
In our modern world, a marine predator the size of the Megladon Shark would surely not go unnoticed! But, we know very little about the vast seas that surrounds us and the ocean depths are home to all kinds of bizarre creatures that we had no idea existed.
For a fish the size of a Megladon to exist, it would need to consume as much as several Great White Sharks would need in the same period. We know that there are large creatures in the sea that never see the light of day, so to feast on extra large Giant Squid, Collossal Octopus or other deep sea fish is not implausible. Some of these huge and strange creatures have washed up on remote beaches or have become ensnared in fishing nets.
There have been a few notable reports of Great White Sharks suffering horrendous bites that have led to their deaths. But none of these reports have been completely verified by science and as Great White Sharks do practise cannibalism as part of their hunting strategy, there is a real possibility that these injuries may have been caused by a larger member of the same species.
A juvenile Great White Shark can measure around 8-12 feet in length, more established and mature Great Whites can easily double that size. Great White Sharks can become territorial and removing another predator from their hunting area is a prudent strategy for their continued existence.
What do you Think?
Do you believe a Megladon has survived extinction?
It is very unlikely that a marine predator such as the megladon has survived into this modern age. It would have had to evolve from a versatile predator that could survive happily in coastal waters, swampy brackish water, the deep sea and near Arctic conditions. Into a fish that exists purely in the deep trenches of the world's oceans. If megladon did still visit coastal waters, it would have been spotted long before now.
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© 2018 Andrew Stewart