The Biggest Shark That Ever Lived

The Carcharodon megalodon at 67 feet was the largest shark that ever lived on Earth’

The Biggest Shark Ever

 

The biggest shark that ever lived was the Carcharadon megalodon that supposedly became extinct 1 million years ago.  This guy was known to reach lengths as great as 67 feet and had a jaw that was large enough for a 6’ 4” man to stand in with plenty of room to spare.  He had teeth that were as big as your hand that were serrated on the edges to give this monster a better bite.

 

The size of the teeth he possessed gave him the name megalodon that in Greek means “big tooth.”  He earned his name from having teeth and jaws to feed on the largest animals in the sea.

 

He was apparently related to the modern white sharks, but was three times their size with a stockier body as well.  The only other shark we know of this size is the Whale Shark that can reach a length of 40 feet.  The whale shark is a plankton feeder providing no threat to man unless one of them runs over you.

 

The megalodon presents a different problem because full grown he is able to finish you off in a single bite.  In fact his jaws are so huge that he could easily inhale you in a single gulp.  There is a model of this shark’s jaw on exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City that can give you some idea of how big this shark really was in life.  The author who stands 6’ 4” once stood inside this giant’s jaw, and found that he had plenty of room to spare all around.

 

Giant whales were the megalodon’s favorite food that they would ram near where their vital organs were, thereby rendering their victim paralyzed so they could eat them at their leisure.  These is plenty of evidence of this in the fossil record from tooth marks found on their victims.  Some of the other animals they preyed on were giant sea turtles and dugongs, a sea mammal related to the manatee. 

 

The bite of one of these monsters was greater by far then the bite of the T-Rex often exceeding 40,000 lbs. per square inch.  They were also equipped with up to 256 teeth that were sunk into their jaws.  Their teeth were especially adapted to tearing the flesh of their victims.  Altogether this shark was one mean hombre.

 

Are they extinct?  One million years is a blink of the eye in geological time.  Many geologists, and marine biologists think they are extinct.  Their extinction was supposedly brought about by the cooling of the seas at the beginning of the Pleistocene.  This limited their main food source the giant whales.  Strange stories of some sort of sea monster keep emerging from the wilder corners of the sea.  It was only in the past few years when a fresh looking megalodon tooth was washed up on a beach in western Australia.  Who knows, the deep ocean holds many surprises for mankind!

 

References:

 

Megalodon, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalodon

 

 

Image via Wikipedia

 

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