Megalodon is an ancient shark that went extinct around 2.6 million years ago but ruled the world’s oceans for approximately 20 million years. Otodus megalodon is an extinct species of giant mackerel shark that lived from the Early Miocene epoch to the Pliocene epoch. A fearsome apex predator, megalodon has a bite force stronger than the T. Rex and could crush a car, according to scientists.
Although there has been no recovered fossil of the prehistoric shark’s body, the discovery of multiple giant megalodon teeth worldwide shows the extent of its size. The largest megalodon tooth ever found measures more than 7 inches, indicating the size of the megalodon ranges between 45 and 50 feet long, based on reports as of early 2023.
Recently, a study published in December 2023 revealed the discovery of scientists of a new megalodon tooth in an unexplored seamount or underwater mountain of the Pacific Ocean. This fossil of the macro-predatory shark is located 10,000 feet (3,090 meters) in the deep sea, supporting previous scientific inquiries that the megalodon may have lived in the Mariana Trench or other deepwater habitats.
Megalodon Tooth Discovery
(Photo : Photo by Francesco Volpi Ghirardini via Wikimedia Commons)
In the study published on the journal Historical Biology last December 14, scientists described the first reported cases of an in-situ observation and sampling of the megalodon tooth in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, specifically near the Johnston Atoll and approximately 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) south of the Hawaiian islands.
The fossil measures 2.7 inches long with a gold color and was discovered when a remotely operated submarine led by the Ocean Exploration Trust was collecting samples at the unexplored seamount. The discovery of the megalodon fossil was part of an expedition in 2022 but the organization only revealed the details recently.
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How Did the Megalodon Went Extinct?
Due to the absence of a full megalodon skeleton that should be on our record books, as mentioned earlier, the accurate size and features of the ancient shark remains unclear. However, experts agree that it can grow up to 60 feet long.
This estimation is based on the assessment of scientists who study modern sharks and can measure its shape, size, and shark-family information just by observing a shark tooth. This method is also applicable when it comes to fossil megalodon teeth, according to the Florida Museum of the University of Florida.
While we know when members of the megalodon species lived and went extinct, scientists are still debating as to how the giant prehistoric shark went extinct.
Some of the leading megalodon extinction theories include climate change, resulting in colder ocean temperatures, according to the Natural History Museum.
Another theory mentioned in a 2022 study suggests that competition with great white sharks for food may have led to the demise of megalodons. This is based on previous research of fossilized megalodon and great white teeth, which showed their diets overlapped, as cited by the museum.
Related Article: Megalodon Found To Be A ‘Warm-Blooded’ Extinct Shark Species, Research Finds
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