Posted by on Jun-13-2009

The story of sharks is not complete with out mentioning about its Pre – Historic ancestor ‘Megaladon’ .

Megaladon means ‘Giant tooth’ in Greek and is an ideal name for the fish. This giant could grow up to 18 meters long and is the largest shark ever to have lived and the biggest carnivorous fish known to have existed. This is an estimate made from many fossilized teeth and a few fossilized vertebrae that have been found.These giant teeth, once mistaken as a tongue stone , is as big as a person’s hand, up to 18cms slant height and were believed to be replaceable like the modern day shark teeth. The fish had gigantic mouth, with 250 teeth and which when opened was 6ft wide and 7ft high. This makes the mouth a ‘hall of hell’ .

The Megaladon is believed to be an ambush hunter, taking the prey by surprise and inflicting heavy injuries on it . The razor-sharp teeth and the wide mouth enabled it to attack the preys effectively. The mode of attack is found different from that of the modern day large sharks like the Great white . Megaladon preferred attacking the bony parts of the prey which the sharks generally avoid. The exceptionally tough teeth were not just good cutting tools but also were well suited for grasping powerful prey and would seldom crack even when slicing through the bones. It likely delivered a killer bite on the part of the body of the whale where rib cage was present. The victim may have died quickly due to massive internal injuries as a result. The bite force of the fish was believed to be upto 40,131 pounds per square inch, making it the formidable and powerful predators to have ever inhabited the oceans.

Megaladon preyed on sperm whales, bow head whales , sirenians, dolphins, porpoises, pinnipeds and giant sea turtles . With the powerful body and pointed teeth, the even didn’t hesitate to attack whales and dinosaurs larger than them.

These giants were believed to inhabit all the oceans of the world in its time.It is not yet clear, how a top predator like Megalodon suddenly went extinct after millions of years of existence and dominance, however two main factors believed to be involved are climatic disorder and shortage of food. It is also believed that these changes resulted in the evolution of the smaller species – sharks. The fossils of Megaladon closely resemble the Great White Shark, which affirms the belief. But still some ask the question , whether the Megaladon are still around swimming in the deep ocean? There are some eyewitnesses, who have seen the species, extinct years ago.

In 1918 some crayfish men at Port Stephen, where working on fishing grounds ,which lie in deep waters in vicinity of Broughton island , when an immense shark of almost unbelievable proportion appeared and snatched their catch. The men were all unanimous that this shark was something ,the like of which they had never dreamed of. The scared crayfish men refused to go the sea for several days.

Several divers and researchers have reported that they have found giant sized tooth resembling that of the Megaladon in their underwater expeditions. Scientists dredging the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, earlier this century, discovered two 10 cm. long Megalodon teeth that were what can only be described as geologically “fresh.” Australian Fishermen reportedly were confronted by a “ghostly” white shark whose measurements were as long as their wharf, a whopping 100+ feet.

All this strengthens the belief that Megaladon which once ruled the seas still exists. Generally large species have been prone to easily avoid scientist, for example, the Giant squid , the sperm whales, they were thought not to exist and even today we rarely get a glimpse of them. Is the Megaladon following the same pursuit? Could a species that has once thought to have been extinct still be swimming in the sea?

We may have explored the outer space and set foot on the moon, but the secrets of our very seas still remain undisclosed.

  1. Lee Said,

    The life and the evolution is always amazing. Megaladon, its interesting . The tale of an extinct Predator

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