|“||Living out there is something really terrifying. The most lethal shark that the world has ever scene –– Megalodon, the biggest carnivorous fish that's ever lived. And I don't think I need to explain why.||„|
|— Allen, describing Megalodon|
Carcharodon Megalodon, more commonly known as just Megalodon (name meaning "Big Tooth"), is an extinct species of enormous prehistoric shark that originated during the Miocene to Pleistocene epochs in every ocean on Earth. At around 23 meters in length, weighing more than 70 tons, and essentially a giant great white shark, Megalodon was literately the largest predatory creature to ever exist on Planet Earth.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Megalodon lived from the Early Miocene to the Late Pleistocene from 23–2 million years ago. It was the apex predator of the seas during its day. Their extinction was caused by Ice Age climate changes. As the Ice Age began, the whales Megalodon preyed on migrated to colder waters, where the shark could not follow. As a result, Megalodon was doomed into extinction by hunger.
Megalodon was first discovered by Louis Agassiz in 1843. Since then, fossilized teeth of Megalodon have been found around the world. From their distribution it is possible to see that Megalodon preferred tropical and temperate seas, and did not stray into cold waters. It could, however, live many kilometres from the coast in the open ocean. Other than its teeth, few parts of its body are known. However, some paleontologists and other scientists believe that Megalodon could still be alive today in the 21st century.
Megalodon was that largest shark ever to roam the seas, larger than a whale shark, and was not only the largest carnivorous fish ever discovered, but was also that largest carnivorous creature that ever lived on Planet Earth, rivaling and even surpassing the size of predatory dinosaurs like Giganotosaurus and even Tyrannosaurus rex as well as other sea monsters like Cymbospondylus, Dunkleosteus, Tylosaurus, Basilosaurus, and even Liopleurodon. On average, Megalodon measured over 50–60 feet (15–18 m) long and weighed more than 50–60 tons (100,000–120,000 lbs.) However, some specimens have been discovered to have grown in excess of 75–90 feet (23–27 m) in length and weighed as much as 70–90 tons (140,000–180,000 lbs.)
Megalodon also had a tall dorsal fin, large pectoral fins and a large and powerful caudal fin but its anal fins were small. Megalodon were basically gigantic great white sharks. As such, they had the same overall physical appearance; a streamlined, muscular body with darker grey colored skin on top and lighter colored, or white, skin on the bottom (most likely to serve as camouflage), only they were well over three times the size. By the time an adolescent Megalodon reached three years of age, they could have measured just over 20 feet (6.1 m) long and weighed at least 3 tons (6,000 lbs.). Full–grown Megalodon were over 20 times the weight of juveniles.
Megalodon was a powerful predator, capable of making high-speed attack runs. Its mouth could open to around 10 feet (3 m) wide, revealing a set of giant, sharp, serrated teeth that measured at least 7 inches long within a pair of massive jaws could deliver a crippling bite. Megalodon was estimated to have a bite force of around 20 tons, more than powerful enough to slice, bite, and cut through the toughest flesh and bone. This shark literally had the most powerful bite force in all of the animal kingdom.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Megalodon were solitary animals as they were large enough to hunt game independently. As essentially giant great white sharks, Megalodon behaved the same way. For instance, much like young great whites, juvenile Megalodon preferred to live in shallow waters closer to shore and away from adults, who hunted large prey in the open oceans. The juveniles surviving in shallow water was partially for their own safety, but additionally they fed on different and smaller species of prey. Juvenile Megalodon were not large enough to attack the large whales. Their teeth are usually found in shallow waters, suggesting that they lived inshore. There, they mainly hunted large fish and smaller marine mammals, such as Odobenocetops. A fully grown Megalodon would hunt larger whales. Megalodon preyed on the dolphins and large whales that lived in deep offshore waters. It would cruise around, waiting for one of them to surface.
But whether juveniles or adults, Megalodon had the same hunting strategies as modern great white sharks. Once they locked onto their prey, because they didn't want their prey to attack them back, these giant and powerful sharks would come up from underneath their prey, swimming vertically upwards at speed. At the last moment, the giant jaws would open and the teeth would be rammed into the prey, tearing out large chunks of its flesh, landed devastating attacks. As relatives of great white sharks, the juvenile Megalodon therefore attacked their prey in an identical way. However, when adult Megalodon hunted, they swam bellow further into the deep, dark oceans in order for them to gain more momentum. Once they gained enough, they swam incredibly fast, at speeds as fast as 15–28 mph (13–25 knots), directly towards the surface to their prey and struck with intensely powerful force. On its initial attack run, Megalodon would probably go for vulnerable parts of the body, such as the flippers and tail. This would immediately cripple their prey so that it couldn't swim away or dive downwards. Megalodon's teeth would often fall out during these attacks, but new ones would grow in their place.
A special adaptation that Megalodon evolved was a protective membrane which was located at the back of its eyes. When attacking its prey, it would roll its eyes to reveal the membrane. Sight would not be necessary in an attack as its sense of smell would steer it towards its prey. Megalodon's sense of smell was incredibly powerful, they could detect blood from miles away. Megalodon was a species of shark that literally evolved to attack and prey upon living whales, even very large ones. No matter what type of whale or how large the whale, Megalodon was a whale killer.
Journal Entry Edit
|“|| Known as "the Great Shark" by some or "the Tyrannosaurus rex of the sea" by others, Carcharodon Megalodon (Megalodon for short), or "Big Tooth", was the largest shark that ever existed, massive and powerful enough to hunt and kill the giants of the seas, such as other large sharks, colossal squids, and even whales, no matter how large nor what species. Because of this, Megalodon has been dubbed as a "Whale Killer."
A shark measuring more than 70 ft. in length with jaws massive enough to eat an entire speed boat and powerful enough to crush bone as well as teeth roughly the size of a human hand, this was arguably the largest and most powerful predatory animal the world had ever seen, roaming every ocean on Earth and having no predators or even rivals to fear during its time, save only larger Megalodon.
Overall possessing the same physical appearance as the great white shark, only more than three times the size, Megalodon is said to have behaved the same way. For example, when hunting, they used the dark depths of the ocean to hid and when ready to struck at their prey, they snuck up from bellow at incredible speed and landed devastatingly powerful attacks on their prey.
With the mass of an adult Brachiosaurus, equipped with high-tech hunting strategies, and armed to the teeth, Megalodon was an unequaled animal with nothing to fear and no natural predators of its time.
|— Allen, in his Journal, about Megalodon|