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?
Megalodon is the largest extinct species of shark that has ever roamed the planet. This species of shark was king and emperor of our oceans and ate everything in sight. The Megalodon was not a prey, but it certainly had formidable opponents. They used the same food source. The Megalodon's main characteristic was that it sought out a 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 today and not without reason. The fossils such as teeth that have been found of this shark species are gigantic. These finds have helped scientists enormously in painting a picture of the Megalodon. As in how big it must have been, how heavy it must have been, its habitat and its possible diet.
What we have learned from the locations of the teeth is that the Megalodon probably lived mainly in warmer areas. This could be a logical reasoning. Now, and especially in this day and age, we still see speculation as to whether this large predator still exists and would be hiding in the well-known Mariana Trench. We think this must be virtually impossible. As we mentioned before, the places where we find the teeth of the Megalodon are in rather warm areas. In the Mariana Trench, the deeper, the colder.
The Megalodon in the old days
The Megalodon, as mentioned earlier, would have had its debut around the Miocene era and died out around the Pliocene. With all the information currently available, I was very curious as to how the Megalodon could have become extinct around that time. And honestly? It all sounds quite logical. The Megalodon remains are found in warmer areas. Again, the Megalodon must have found its origin in the warmer places, presumably because the fish population in a warm area must also have been considerably higher. The Megalodon needed a lot of food to stay alive.
But back to my point, the Pliocene took place after the Pretiglian era. Around this period, the well-known ice age started. What could be a certain series of events is this: The Megalodon was undoubtedly lord and master of the sea. The great Menace in the Miocene era. The Megalodon ate its fill every day, so if there were many Megalodons, it is of course a lot of fish that would disappear every day. But, the Miocene era ended and we went more or less into the Pretiglian era, the Ice Age. So, now that we know that the Megalodon liked to stay in the warmer area and the ice age was coming, a possible yet logical explanation must have been that the food source of the Megalodon tried to migrate to, or did not, become 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 to be able to stay in those warmer areas. In addition, the Megalodon still had a competitor to reckon with, namely the Leviathan. So when we put all the possibilities in a row, 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 working to prove that the Megalodon should exist and be in the as yet 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 extremely cold. This is very much in line with the scientific fossil discoveries in the warmer areas. It could also be that the Megalodon evolved from the mackerel shark. That a newer species of shark arose around the ice age that was able to adapt to the conditions then prevailing. That perhaps it could cope with food shortages and colder temperatures. How we can find out is only when science is ready. Personally, I think the Megalodon is completely extinct. I think that over the years there would have been a sighting of this shark coming up for food.
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 reach a length of two metres at birth. This is bigger than the average human, bizarre! It is possible that the Megalodon gave birth to the largest babies of all shark species. What scientists also found interesting and striking was that the baby size indicated that the Megalodon was already bigger than the average human at birth, bizarre huh? It means that the Megalodon possibly gave birth to the largest babies of all shark species. 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 is said to have preyed on the larger ocean dwellers. These included sea turtles, Dugongs, various whale and shark species, but the Megalodon was also known for cannibalism. According to researchers, cannibalism even started in the mother's womb. Whereby the babies would have started eating each other. This brings a real definition of the right of the strongest.
The hunting methods of the Megalodon
We now know quite a lot about the Megalodon. However, questions remain such as: how did this creature actually hunt? We couldn't resist looking it up for you and have gathered some more information.
Researchers expected the Megalodon to have had a similar hunting method to the white shark. White sharks are known for tearing their prey apart. However, the Megalodon must have been a lot more diverse. According to researchers, the Megalodon would tear off the fins of its prey in order to administer 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 an extinct whale that used to live in what is now 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, fear not 30 centimetres long.
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 as if this shark came straight out of a horror film.
As we have already described, the Megalodon tore off the fins of its prey and then delivered the final blow from underneath. Now imagine it sinking its 276 teeth into the prey to tear the flesh from 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 kind of animal or one size, as many animals do today, but could eat anything in its path!
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.