10 Amazing facts about the Megalodon Shark, the largest predator on the planet
If you thought the Great white shark was a monster, you have never met the Megalodon. Well you never even will because these gigantic monster sharks existed in prehistoric times during the Pliocene period. Known as the mega tooth, Megalodon sharks became extinct centuries ago but till date they fascinate scientists owing to the sheer weight of their size and weight. Here are 10 facts about the amazing Megaldodon sharks.
1 The world’s most powerful predator in prehistoric history
The Megalodon was a strategic hunter who displayed higher intelligience than the present day great white shark. Its favorite prey were the 30 feet Baleen whales and they crushed the bones and attacked the vital organs rendering the whales helpless. Research also showed how they attacked the flippers, first immobilizing the whales.
2 Megalodon Teeth Fossils Were Mistaken For Dragons Tongues
At one point of time, researchers mistook Megalodon’s teeth for dragon’s tongues. During the Renaissance, huge Megalodon’s teeth were discovered in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. People immediately thought them to be tongues of ancient dragons. Only in 1667, a Danish environmentalist and naturalist named, Nicolaus Steno identified them as shark teeth.
3 The Oldest Megalodon Fossil Today Is A Staggering 28 Million Years Old
Scientists believe that the Megalodon originated during the Mid-Miocene period, 16 million years ago. The species succumbed to extinction around 2.6 million years ago. The Megalodon was named by Louis Agassiz, a Swiss naturalist in 1835. The term Megalodon means mega tooth.
4 Megalodon’s Teeth Are Larger Than Any Known Shark Species On The Planet
Scientifically known as Carcharodon Megalodon, it was interpreted as “Megatooth”. Among all Megalodon fossils, its teeth are the most common where each measured a length of 7.1 inches. Megalodon’s teeth, needless to say are large serrated teeth having a triangular shape. Megalodon bodily fossils are rare. As such Scientists based research on Megalodon teeth.
5 The Megalodon Wasn’t A Fussy Eater. It Ate Everything Even Itself
Amazing Megalodon sharks fed on almost anything that moved in the sea. Dolphins, whales, fish, sea turtles and other marine animals and reptiles. In fact many whale fossils and bones have been discovered with huge gashes on them suggestive of Megalodon attacks. The appearance of the Megalodon caused a large diversification of sea cetaceans which included a change in behavioral and hunting traits as well. Sharks then began to adopt hunting in packs as a defensive measure. Megalodon also displayed cannibalistic features and consumed other smaller Megalodons too.
6 Megalodon Pups Could Be Born With a Birth Length Of Up To 13 Feet
Like mammals, Megalodons gave birth to baby sharks measuring anything between 6.6 to 13 feet in length. Their teeth alone measured 2 to 4 metres. Young Megalodons were carnivores, eating sea turtles, fish, dugongs and small marine creatures. Sometimes baby Megalodons would also attack blue hump back whales as suggested by a fossil discovered from a prehistoric blue whale.
7 Even The Pen*s Of A Megalodon Was Bigger Than The Great White Shark
California University shark expert, Peter Klimey stated that the pen*s of a Megalodon was about the same size of a great white. Researchers have concluded that the size of the Megaldon was enormous reaching up to a length of 82 feet. However, experts felt that the assumed length of a normal Megalodon would be to the tune of 52 feet.
8 Why Is The Megalodon Extinct?
Three theories are attributed to the extinction of the Megalodon. One possibility could be the closure of the grand Central American seaway influenced by the Pliocene which then laid foundations for an ice age that cooled down ocean temperatures. Megalodons thrived in warmer water and thus could not adapt to the cold waters.
Another reason suggested by researchers was the absence of the usual diet of the Megalodon, consisting of prehistoric sea creatures which became extinct. This factor was also impacted by the Central American seaway. This caused the increase in blue whales that started thriving and moved towards Polar Regions. The third but least common theory was the possibility that the Megalodon was driven to extinction by packs of killer whales
9 Megalodon Fossils Have Been Discovered Worldwide
The amazing Megalodon shark roamed the world or so it seemed, as suggested by the findings of Megalodon fossils all around the world. Megalodons were cosmopolitan animals and went wherever there was an abundance of prey. Megalodon teeth have been uncovered in countries like Jamaica, Australia, Japan, Malta, India, Europe, Africa and both the Americas.
10 A Megalodon Bite Was Powerful Enough To Crush A Modern Day Car
Scientists have estimated the bite of a full grown Megalodon to be so powerful that it could crush a small car. This deduction was achieved by computer simulation, where statistics such as bite size, teeth structure and size of teeth were entered. Simulated factors of pressure of bite in relation to physiology found that it could easily crush a car.
A Megalodon’s bite could exert a pressure of 1,800 kg where an adult Megalodon’s could bite down on a prey with force upto 18,100 kg.