It’s certainly fun to think about. The idea that the biggest shark to ever live might still be swimming around our vast oceans.
As fun as it is to imagine these sharks are still somewhere in the unexplored deep, terrorizing prey, the question remains: Is there any scientific basis to Megalodon sharks still being alive?
Who Were The Megalodon Sharks?
Megalodon is the largest known predatory shark to ever swim the oceans. It lived 26 million to 2.3 million years ago during the Cenozoic Era. Megalodon grew up to 67 feet (20 meters) in length and weighed up a whopping 114 tons (103 metric tons). Megalodon, named after the greek term for “big tooth,” had teeth 6.6 inches (168 mm) in length. Lined with up to 276 of these massive teeth, it’s mouth measured 11 feet wide and 9 feet tall and could bite a whale in half. Megalodon mainly feasted on whales, dinosaurs, and other sharks living in temperate and warm waters. Megalodon was a Lamniformes shark, that was similar in look and behavior to a modern Great White Shark. So it was truly a ferocious predator.
Why Are They So Fascinating?
People love the Megalodon because it plays to our worst fears of nature. Sharks are the apex predator of the sea and off land, humans have little defense one on a one if a shark decides to attack. Megalodon was a massive shark, that could easily swallow a person in one terrifying bite. Knowing this creature existed once before, the idea that it could still be out there and one day come for us is truly terrifying. It’s a fun thought to scare ourselves a bit, thinking about this massive predator, but is it realistic to ever think a human and a Megalodon could ever come face to face?
Arguments For The Existence Of Megalodon Sharks
Is it possible Megalodon could still be out there? Cryptozoologists, people who study animals that have not been proven to exist, believe it could be. The ocean is massive and largely unexplored, and even if we could map the whole thing, Megalodon swims around, so there’s no way of knowing where they would be at any given time. Though scientists believe that Megalodon went extinct around 2.3 million years ago, many cryptozoologists believe that this massive shark could still be out there. Cryptozoologists believe there are several arguments for the existence of Megalodon including:
- Extinct Ocean Species Are Often Found: Cryptozoologists look at the evidence of large fish species that were thought long extinct as precedent that Megalodon could still be swimming in our oceans. The most notable example is the Coelacanth fish. Coelacanth was thought to have gone extinct 65 million years ago but was caught off the coast of Africa in 1938. Coelacanth grows to six feet in length, so though it’s not as large as a Megalodon, it’s proof that large extinct fish could still be in our oceans without knowing.
- Large Ocean Species Are Still Being Discovered: Cryptozoologists also look at the fact that very large ocean sharks are still being discovered. For example the Megamouth Shark grows up to 20 feet in length and was only discovered in 1976. Megamouth Sharks live in deep water and only surface at night, so if Megalodon had similar behaviors, it could still be alive.
- Known Large Ocean Species Are Still Unsee: The ocean is full of large ocean species like the Colossal Squid that scientists know exist, but it has never been caught or seen. Another example is the Giant Squid which is 30 feet (9.1 m) in length and has only recently been seen on camera. So if known species of large ocean life eludes us, who is to say that there aren’t other massive species like Megalodon lurking in the deep.
- Photographic Evidence: There are two photographs that possibly prove a 50 ton shark may be swimming in our waters. One is from the coast of Cape Town, South Africa taken by a German U-Boat during World War Two. Another photograph taken in 2013 off the coast of Cape Town shows another massive shark. These photographs may be of large Great White Sharks, but may also be of Megalodon.
- Megalodon Sightings: There are two giant shark sightings that may prove the existence of Megalodon. The first is from 1918 where a massive shark destroyed a team of fishermen’s gear. The second was in the 1960s when a shark nearly the same size as their 55 ft (16.7 m) fishing boat terrified a Captain and crew in Australia. Though these claims may be exaggerated, it also could be proof the Megalodon still exists.
Arguments Against The Existence Of Megalodon Sharks
Though cryptozoologists have a lot of anecdotal evidence that Megalodon Sharks still exist, scientists need hard evidence before they can really believe it is out there. In fact, most scientists look at the Megalodon Shark facts that we know and say there’s no way it could still be out there. Here are just some of the reasons scientists argue that Megalodon does not still exist:
- People Would Find Their Teeth: Though the argument that Megalodon could avoid detection, all sharks routinely lose their teeth. So if Megalodon Sharks were still out there and we couldn’t see them, we would still find their teeth. Especially since their teeth are so massive.
- Photographs Are Misleading: Basking Sharks are a large lamniformes shark that are often mistaken for Great Whites because they have a similar body. Basking Sharks often grow to 33 ft and could easily be mistaken for a Megalodon. So Megalodon photographs are most likely Basking Sharks.
- Newly Discovered Ocean Species Do Not Mean Megalodon Exists: Just because we have found species like Coelacanth and Megamouth does not mean that Megalodon is still in the ocean. Also the simple fact that we may not have seen the giant squids but knew the existed is further proof that these things are not evidence of Megalodon’s existence.
- People Would See Them: Megalodon was a warm water shark that hunted a lot like a Great White. If Megalodon was still hunting our oceans, we’d see them hunting alongside Great White Sharks. They also mainly ate whales, so we would see them attacking and hunting whales, or at least evidence of giant sharks eating whales.
So even though it is fun to think about Megalodon still swimming in the ocean, the arguments for its existence are pretty weak. Megalodon Shark facts are clear to scientists and they argue if they were still out there we would absolutely know. So for now, we’ll just keep the enduring existence of Megalodon in our imaginations.