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The Megalodon Giant Shark
The Megalodon Giant Shark is an awesome and majestic creature that belonged to the Cenozoic Era - that's the period which existed about 1.5 million years ago. Since this shark became extinct (we think!) long ago, there have been no proven reports of a Megalodon (although there have been lots of unverified reports). A lot of data has been collected from fossils and that's how we know the Megalodon definitely existed. The Great White Shark is considered a direct descendent of this prehistoric shark and many behavioral and feeding habits have been found to be similar.
There has been a large dispute on whether this shark belongs to the Carcharocles megalodon (the Otodontidae shark family) or the Carcharodon megalodon (the Lamindae shark family). Anyway you slice it, the Megalodon Giant Shark is considered the greatest predator in history. Considered to have a cosmopolitan distribution on the basis of the fossils (about 175 fossil remains have been found, on the basis of which research has been conducted) found, the Megalodon Giant Shark is also known to have reached a size of 16 to 20.3 meters (50 to 67 foot), that is quite big for a shark.
Video Overview Of The Megalodon Giant Shark
According to estimates, the smallest of the megalodon giant sharks would still be 16 feet long and would have weighed around 48 tonnes (that's more than 105,000 pounds!). The largest of the bunch would measure about 20.3 feet and would have weighed around 103 tonnes, or an astonishing 227,000 pounds! Imagine having that on the end of your fishing bobber!
Feeding habits are not documented but it is assumed that such a giant sized shark would have consumed a great quantity of food that may have included larger prey such as other sharks.
About 175 fossils of the Megalodon Giant Shark have been found across the world. These areas include North and South America, Africa, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica, Malta, Japan, India and the Grenadines. A set of fossils has also been excavated from the Pacific's Mariana Trench. The oldest fossils found are known to be about 28 million years old and last of them is 1.5 million years old.
The Megalodon Giant Shark, being so large, was likely highly mobile. It is also believed that They are known to have preferred the temperate and sub-tropical latitudes and their presence is found in all oceans of the world. The fossil finds also indicate that they were located at various depths ranging from shallow to the deep. It seems that adults mostly lived in the deeper seas. It is assumed that these sharks migrated to different depths according to the needs of their own life cycles.
Their social behavior is relatively unknown but we consider that the Great Whites are descendants of the Megalodon. In case of Great White Sharks, while they do hunt alone, there have been instances where they hunt in groups when they are preying on larger food. In such cases it has been observed that the larger ones feed first and the smaller ones come later. They also swim alongside each other to size up and ascertain which one is bigger or smaller.
If they were anything like the Great Whites we see today, these sharks were quite social and when they'd get together, they would tend to assert their size and strength by way of slamming their bodies against each other. Experiments with tagging the Great White has shown that some of these sharks tend to spend more time with some other specific sharks. When the food is limited, these sharks or the hunters tend to engage in tail slapping indicating that the prey is reserved only it will feed on it.
If Great Whites are any indicators of the Megalodon Giant Shark's reproduction methods, it is safe to say that they breed seldomly. In fact, it takes a long time for them to come of age for reproduction (around 15 years) and they only breed every other year. How they mate is something that has never been observed. It is assumed that the mating occurred in shallow waters by pressing the female sharks on the ocean floor or the coastal sides.
The eggs hatched inside the female shark and the gestation period is assumed to have been 10 to 14 months. The litters were probably between 5 to 14 inches in size and each of the pups likely weighed about 25 kilograms at a length of about 1.5 meters. They were also likely very vulnerable in the first year of growth due to being prey for other sharks.
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