The history of the Megalodon
What exactly is a Megalodon? Good question, because you see us selling teeth and you may know by now that it was a species of shark that dominated the oceans millions of years ago. Read all about the Megalodon here.
What exactly is the Megalodon?
Megalodonis the largest extinct species of shark that ever roamed this planet. This species of shark was king and emperor in our oceans, eating everything in front of it. The Megalodon was not a predator but certainly had formidable opponents. These were in fact using the same food source. What was apparently recognisable about the Megalodon is that it mainly sought out the warm climate.
Megalodon through the years
As we all know by now, the Megalodon originated around the Miocene era and is a descendant of the mackerel shark species. The megaldon is still feared in the present day and, of course, this is not without reason. The fossils such as teeth found from this shark species are huge. These finds have helped scientists immensely in painting a picture of the Megalodon. As in how big it must have been, how heavy it must have been, its habitat and possible diet.
What we have learned from the locations of the teeth is that the Megalodon presumably dwelt in the warmer regions. This could be a logical reasoning, this because we find so many teeth on coastlines of warmer countries. Now and especially in this day and age, we still see people speculating whether or not this large predator would still exist and hang out in the well-known Mariana Trench. We think this must be virtually impossible. As we mentioned earlier, the places where we find the teeth of the Megalodon are in quite warm areas. In the Mariana Trench, the deeper, the colder.
The Megalodon in the old days
As mentioned earlier, the Megalodon is said to have had its debut around the Miocene epoch and became extinct around the Pliocene. Still, I was incredibly curious as to how it could be that the Megalodon went extinct around that time with all the information currently available. And honestly? It all sounds pretty logical an sich.
We all find the Megalodon remains in the warmer regions. Again, the Megalodon must have found its origins in the warmer places, presumably because the fish population in a warm area must also have been significantly higher. This is because the Megalodon needed a lot of food to stay alive.
But back to my point, the Pliocene. This period took place after the Pretiglian era. Around this epoch, the well-known Ice Age began. What could be a certain progression is this: The Megalodon was undoubtedly lord and master of the sea. The great Menace in the Miocene epoch. The Megalodon ate its fill on a daily basis, should there have been many Megalodon it is obviously a lot of fish that would disappear per day.
But, the Miocene epoch ended and we pretty much went into the Pretiglian epoch, the ice age. So now that we know that the Megalodon liked to hang out in the warmer area and the ice age was coming, a possible yet logical explanation must have been that the Megalodon's food source tried to migrate, evolve or went extinct.
It is therefore plausible that the Megalodon had a very hard time during these periods. This is because the Megalodon also had to travel on its own to stay in those warmer regions. In addition, the Megalodon still had a competitor to contend with, namely the Leviathan. So when we line up all the possibilities, we see the following.
It became too cold in most places so the Megalodon had to travel to find warmer places.
The food source may have been eradicated by the ice age, evolved to survive the ice age or even eaten so that there was simply no food left. (It even seems, according to researchers, that Megalodon practised cannibalism. This could mean that because of the scarcity, they started eating each other).
Competitors who also hunted the same food source helped to reduce the Megalodon's food source.
So we are assuming for the purposes of this article that the Megalodon is completely extinct.
Megalodon in the present time
As I mentioned earlier, scientists are still to this day working on evidence that the Megalodon should exist and be located in the still unknown Mariana Trench. Could this be possible? Honestly, who knows. We think the Megalodon is completely extinct. Although nature has astonished us many times before through evolution.
Is it the Megalodon itself? I don't think so. There cannot be enough food in the Mariana Trench to sustain the Megalodon. Besides, it is incredibly cold. This is hugely consistent with scientific fossil finds in warmer areas. It could perhaps be that the Megalodon would have evolved, as the Megalodon evolved from the mackerel shark.
That, as a result, a newer species of shark evolved around the ice age that did manage to adapt to conditions. That perhaps could deal with scarcity of food and colder temperatures. How we can find out is only when science is ready for this. Personally, I think the Megalodon is completely extinct. I think over the years, there really would have been a sighting of this shark when it came up for its feeding.
The age of a Megalodon
Scientists have discovered in a study of the only known spine of a Megalodon that the vertebrae contain growth rings. This system is very similar to that of tree rings. This showed that the Megalodon produced a fresh layer of bone tissue every year. This phenomenon enabled scientists and researchers to determine the age of the Megalodon in question. This Megalodon would have reached the age of 46. The data from this study indicated that the Megalodon could reach an age of 88 to 100 years.
How big was a Megalodon baby and adult?
The Megalodon was known to reach gigantic sizes and we have to say that they were terrifying. Take the adult for example, it could easily reach a length of eighteen metres. This is comparable to two and a half American school buses.
The baby Megalodon was also of terrifying size from the moment of birth. According to researchers, the Megalodon could already reach a length of two metres at birth. This makes the Megalodon larger than the average human from birth, bizarre right? It means that the Megalodon possibly gave birth to the largest babies of all shark species. Incidentally, it is also striking that this size indicates that the Megalodon may have been viviparous.
What was on the menu of the Megalodon?
The Megalodon would have mainly feasted on the larger ocean inhabitants. These include sea turtles, Dugongs, several whale and shark species, but the Megalodon was also known for cannibalism. According to researchers, cannibalism might even have started in the mother's womb. In which the babies would have started on each other. This brings out the true definition of the law of the jungle.
The hunting methods of the Megalodon
We now actually know quite a lot about the Megalodon. Although questions still linger such as: how did this creature actually hunt. Of course, we couldn't resist finding out for you and were able to gather some more information.
Researchers expected that the Megalodon must have had a hunting method similar to that of the white shark. Indeed, white sharks are known to tear prey apart. Yet the Megalodon must have been a lot more diverse in its approach. According to researchers, the Megalodon would tear off the fins of its prey before delivering the final blow from below.
The food chain of prehistory
The Megalodon was the apex predator of the earlier Miocene. The shark was basically nobody's prey. Does that mean that the Megalodon could do what it wanted? The Megalodon did have competition. This means conflicts with and/or competitors who used the same food source. The Leviathan was a great example of this.
The Leviathan was a whale, which is extinct, that used to live in what is today a desert area. This is in present-day Peru. As described above, the increasingly cold climate must have been disastrous for these large fish and eventually fatal to them.
The Leviathan, a formidable opponent of the Megalodon. Why? The Leviathan was about the same weight and size as the Megalodon. In addition, this whale had huge teeth, scarily, as long as 30 centimetres.
How powerful was the bite of a Megalodon?
According to researchers and certain statistics, the Megalodon had the strongest bite force in the animal kingdom. Although the Megalodon is often compared to the white shark, the Megalodon was many times stronger.
For example, the white shark only had a bite force of 4000 pounds per square inch (psi). Why do I say 'only had a bite force of'? It sounds like I'm dismissing it, but compared to the Megalodon, this bite force was nothing. The Megalodon had a bite force of 40,000 psi, isn't that insane? This bite force puts the Megalodon right at the top.
Does all this sound as if it is completely incomprehensible and illogical? There is a lot of logic behind the Megalodon. When we look at its hunting methods, the tearing away of fins and that final blow, it takes a lot of strength. We are also astonished, but this is an achievement and a record for an animal species in itself.
How long were the teeth of the Megalodon?
The Megalodon had incredibly large teeth, the largest of which measured seventeen centimetres. Although this sounds like a nightmare, we can still find incredibly large teeth from this colossal shark. This length is about three times that of, for example, the white shark. It seems that the ancient tribes had many theories about the teeth they found. They even thought that the teeth must have been from gigantic snakes. This is logical, of course, because in ancient times we did not have the technology that we have now. It is, however, incredibly beautiful to read about these theories.
We find Megalodon teeth almost all over the world and in large quantities too. The teeth are highly prized among collectors for their variable colours, serrations in the teeth and, of course, size. The Megalodon, like the moray shark today, was constantly changing its teeth, so a Megalodon that lived to be about 46 years old may have lost hundreds of teeth that are now found worldwide.
So, how many teeth did the Megalodon have?
The Megalodon had a constant 276 teeth, divided into five rows. It almost sounds like this shark came straight out of a horror movie.
As we described earlier, the Megalodon tore off the fins of its prey before delivering the final blow from below. Now imagine that this shark put its 276 teeth into the prey to tear the flesh off the animal.
The Megalodon is an ancient creature that lived millions of years ago in what we today call "the millennia before written history". This underwater predator had perfected its hunting techniques, which set it apart from other species - it did not target one type of animal or one size, as many animals do today, but it could eat anything that came its way.
The Megalodon in the media
The Megalodon is still secretly in the minds of many people. Every day, palaeontologists, scientists and researchers are still trying to paint a clearer picture of this monster. With some regularity, articles appear in which new information comes to light, whether it is nu.nl, kijkmagazine or the NCR. With every new finding, ample attention is paid to it. This, of course, is what makes prehistory so interesting, because we are constantly learning something new about these wonderful primitive creatures. Is it all true or is it speculation? Science will tell. We can only revel in the wonderful stories and studies.