The Mystery Behind the Megalodon Shark Remains

Mystery

| LAST UPDATE 07/26/2022

By Veronica Anderson
Megalodon Shark Extinct Mystery
Rick Meyer/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The enormous Megalodon shark still remains an enigma to scientists, as researchers are continuously fascinated by its overall size, strength, and capabilities. Although the species went extinct around 3.6 million years ago, the Megalodon dominated the seas for nearly 15 million years - which makes sense considering the predator was about 3x larger than a great white shark. (For reference, a female great white shark is commonly 14 to 20 feet long, and a male great white is around 11 to 13 feet.)

Although scientists are fascinated by the animal, they are not entirely sure how it looked. But based on the remaining teeth fossils, researchers can assume the jaw was large enough to consume a human in one bite. So basically, any close contact with a Megalodon meant likely death. According to Daniel Sigman, professor of geological and geophysical sciences at Princeton University, "Unlike the shark attacks of today that many humans survive, the sheer size and strength of a test bite from Megalodon would have been impossible to survive." 

Megalodon Tooth Fossil Discovery
 Markus Scholz/picture alliance via Getty Images
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According to Sigman, the Megalodon was not only bigger than the great white shark but also could swim at such a speedy pace, making it close to impossible for anything in its way to survive. Based on its teeth, the animal consumed full-sized toothed whales and other predatory sharks. So basically, the Megalodon was at the top of the food chain and took advantage of its ability to adjust to the ocean's colder waters, which would then enable the species to find more prey. Scientists have found their fossils in almost all waters except for the poles.

Despite being one of the most feared animals ever to exist, the mystery remains as to why such a dominant water creature suddenly disappeared. Research suggests that their prey began to disappear, or maybe the colder waters made it difficult for them to find food. Regardless, researchers are still so fascinated by the extinct animal because of their size, fear factor, and extreme abilities. According to Kenshu Shimada, a paleobiology professor at DePaul University in Chicago, "Megalodon is typically portrayed as a super-sized, monstrous creature in novels and films, but the reality is that we still know very little about the extinct shark."

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