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GREAT WHITE SHARK HISTORY - MEGALODON

To me this is one of the most interesting aspects of the Great White shark. The Great White's prehistoric great granddaddy, is a giant prehistoric shark of the genus Carcharodon Megalodon. This ancient shark  probably lived between about 16 to 1.6 million years ago. As far is known, it was the largest predatory fish to have ever lived. But recent studies have stated the shark may have gone extinct only 10,000 years ago. And who knows, maybe there is still one out there............maybe. It seems to me inconceivable that man can easily build ships able to go into space yet we still have not been to all of the deepest abysses of our own oceans.

One artist's rendition of what Megalodon might have looked like.


Some relatively recent reports of large shark-like creatures have been interpreted as surviving megalodons, but such reports are usually considered misidentification of basking sharks, whale sharks or other large creatures. One well-known example was reported by writer Zane Grey. It is possible, but unlikely, that some of these sightings might be due to abnormally large great white sharks. One famed example was retold by Australian naturalist David Stead. Though widely circulated, this account is generally regarded as of little value, because most of the claimants are anonymous:

In the year 1918 I recorded the sensation that had been caused among the "outside" crayfish men at Port Stephens, when, for several days, they refused to go to sea to their regular fishing grounds in the vicinity of Broughton Island. The men had been at work on the fishing grounds which lie in deep water when an immense shark of almost unbelievable proportions put in an appearance, lifting pot after pot containing many crayfishes, and taking, as the men said, "pots, mooring lines and all". These crayfish pots, it should be mentioned, were about 3 feet 6 inches [1.06 m] in diameter and frequently contained from two to three dozen good-sized crayfish each weighing several pounds.
 
The men were all unanimous that this shark was something the like of which they had never dreamed of. In company with the local Fisheries Inspector I questioned many of the men very closely and they all agreed as to the gigantic stature of the beast. But the lengths they gave were, on the whole, absurd. I mention them, however, as an indication of the state of mind which this unusual giant had thrown them into. And bear in mind that these were men who were used to the sea and all sorts of weather, and all sorts of sharks as well.
 
One of the crew said the shark was "three hundred feet [90 m] long at least"! Others said it was as long as the wharf on which we stood about 115 feet [35 m]! They affirmed that the water "boiled" over a large space when the fish swam past. They were all familiar with whales, which they had often seen passing at sea, but this was a vast shark. They had seen its terrible head which was "at least as long as the roof on the wharf shed at Nelson Bay."
 
Impossible, of course! But these were prosaic and rather stolid men, not given to 'fish stories' nor even to talking about their catches. Further, they knew that the person they were talking to (myself) had heard all the fish stories years before! One of the things that impressed me was that they all agreed as to the ghostly whitish colour of the vast fish. The local Fisheries Inspector of the time, Mr Paton, agreed with me that it must have been something really gigantic to put these experienced men into such a state of fear and panic.
 

The best-educated estimates of this creature's maximum size range from 12 to 16 m (40 to 52 ft) (previous much larger reconstructions of the shark's size, up to about 30 m (100 ft), are now generally considered inaccurate but not completely out of the question).

From the size of this shark, its weight is estimated as high as 60 tons, though 20 to 30 tons was more likely. Assuming similar metabolic-weight ratios as the great white shark, it is estimated that a large megalodon would need to eat about one-fiftieth of its weight of food on average per day. From our knowledge of the food chain during megalodon's existence, it is generally believed that this shark's diet consisted mostly of whales, along with large fish and primitive pinnipeds and sirenians (sea cows or lions).

A man giving relative size comparison to Carcharodon Megalodon in museum. Imagine a small train...with teeth.

There is a theory that the adult Carcharodon megalodon fed largely on whales and went extinct as the polar seas became too cold for sharks, allowing whales to swim out of reach of sharks during summer. Other explanations are simpler, suggesting that any prolonged disturbance of the foodchain would wipe out a predator with such massive metabolic requirements. Some cryptozoologists suggest the shark might have died out more recently, or might even still be alive.

The fossil teeth of the animal are often found in areas that had shallow seas, such as near Bakersfield in California. Megalodon was probably a specialist that fed mostly on baleen whales in shallow waters. A main prey item was Cetotherium (a type of shallow water prehistoric whale). Since the time of its extinction there have been few such shallows supporting constant, large whale populations, and the loss of such habitats caused the animal to gradually go extinct, as the species could no longer find enough food to sustain itself. The process would have been gradual, leading to fewer megalodons, more genetic drift and isolated megalodon populations.

                  Courtesy National Museum of Natural History

Courtesy http://www.paleodirect.com/megalodonteeth.htm


THE LARGEST SHARK JAW IN THE WORLD

Containing 182 fossil teeth, including four of the largest teeth ever discovered. Each  of the four largest teeth measures over 7 inches, with the largest tooth measuring  7 5/8 inches. It is believed that in life, this shark would have measured over  75 feet in length. The jaw is a reconstruction, modeled after it's closest living relative  the great white shark. Measuring 9 1/2 feet high x 11 feet wide, containing  four rows of teeth.

               

The sillouette to the right shows you the relative size of this prehistoric monster. Modern day Great White, Man, Megalodon. Scary huh.

Megalodon Funny - Fishing for Megalodon

Ok....Here he comes Vern! Good thing we upgraded to that 130 lb test line. We got his @ss now!

 

Search the Internet for more Prehistoric Megalodon shark information...

 

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