There’s a lot of speculation about the largest shark that ever lived, the Megalodon. It’s such a subject of interest, that even Hollywood has gotten involved with the creation of movies like “Jaws” and “The Meg.” However, if you are like most people, you may wonder, what really happed to this so-called “sea monster?
A good place to begin your search is with 10 Killer Megalodon Shark Facts – FossilEra.com. After getting your facts straight, dive further into the cause of the demise of this massive creature here.
Getting to Know the Megalodon
For more than 20 million years, the oceans around the world were home to a monstrous shark, which was called the “megalodon.” Then, seemingly all of the sudden, with no real explanation, this 50-foot-long super predator completely disappeared.
As mentioned above, this is a part of history that has inspired blockbuster movies, documentaries, and an array of books. Some of these create the image of a bloodthirsty monster that’s still living today, just lurking in the mysterious depths of the ocean.
There’s been a recent study done that confirmed the above statement simply isn’t true.
After taking another look at the fossil record, researchers are now proposing that this huge marine creature may have met its demise thanks to the great white shark.
The Latest Findings Regarding the End of the Megalodon
With the Megalodon, timing was a crucial factor. It’s been suggested by research that this shark went missing approximately 2.6 million years ago, along with a wave of marine extinction. It’s believed this was caused by a supernova, which triggered severe biodiversity and climate changes at this time.
However, after looking further into a fossil of a megalodon shark that was found on the western coast of North America, researchers noticed there were many samples that were misdated and misidentified. After making adjustments, some that were substantial, these researchers discovered the shark’s disappearance occurred approximately one million years before the dates mentioned above.
Megalodon vs. the Great White Shark
With the new timeline, there’s a new explanation that is needed. Today, researchers have discovered that thanks to the fossil evidence available, the megalodon met its end thanks to a smaller yet fierce cousin – the great white shark.
It’s estimated that the great white shark first appeared on earth approximately six million years ago. In the beginning, they were confined to just the Pacific region. However, after two million years, these predators spread across the entire globe.
As the great whites moved from one ocean to the next, researchers believe they infringed on the territory that once belonged to the megalodon and outcompeted the younger (but bigger) megalodon sharks for food.
When the competition for food becomes fierce, the fight to survive turns into a zero-sum game. As prey became less and less available, the great white was the species that ultimately came out on top.
The short overlap when the megalodon and the great white lived together, which lasted for approximately 3.6 to 4 million years, was enough time for the great white sharks to spread around the world and outcompete their cousins for food. Rather than radiation from outer space, it’s really the great white sharks that are responsible for the disappearance of the massive megalodon.
The Ongoing Debate
While there are scientists who believe both of the mentioned causes of extinction, there’s also an ongoing debate about the cause of the megalodon’s extinction. As a result, the research continues and the likelihood of more books, movies, and documentaries is real, so keep your eyes peeled to see what the next extinction theory is.