Thursday, January 1, 2009
Here is one for my prehistory loving fans.
Carcharodon Megalodon, was the largest shark ever to exist. In fact the Megalodon probably could have swallowed a great white shark, plus some, whole, that's how large it was. While the overall size of this bad boy is still highly debated, it's estimated that it was at least 43ft long, or possibly even 60ft. One person, who mistakenly placed the wrong teeth into some spots on a jaw reconstruction, estimated 80ft, however, as I said he made a mistake. Turns out the shark was 150ft, and he wasn't to happy about the 80ft estimate, so he promptly traveled forward in time to eat the guy who made the mistake...ok...now I'm just totally making stuff up. Like I said, the real estimate lies between about 43ft to 60ft, depending on who you go with.
Now like all big groovy critters that once existed on this planet, the Megalodon went extinct, or at least it supposedly did some 1.5 million years ago. Now that's a long time, but considering that the Coelocanth supposedly died out some 65 million years ago, only to be discovered lounging along the coast of South Africa in 1938 while he was on vacation. Needless to say, a species that was supposed to be dead around 65 million years ago surviving into today is quite remarkable. Now look at the 1.5 million year estimate for the Megalodon and compare that to 65 million. That's about 63.5 million years difference, so I say the odds of Megalodon still existing today are actually quite good, or at least compared to say a dinosaur living today.
Let's see now, where would we find a Megalodon...oh perhaps Australia. Great waves, groovy accents, and the most venomous creatures in the world; yeah I'd be chilling there if I was a prehistoric shark. While there I'd also make sure to be spotted by the odd fisherman or two just to strike some fear into them. Oh heck, how about a bunch of fisherman like that incident in 1918 at Broughton Island. There a bunch of fishermen refused to go to sea for several days all because they saw a gigantic white colored shark. Now some of them were rather prone to exaggeration, so initial estimates of the length were 300ft, however some people not as prone to exaggeration gave the more reasonable length of 115ft or so. Maybe the 80ft estimate guy was correct...or it's a completely different monster shark. Either way, fishermen are used to seeing large sea creatures, so odds are whatever they saw was something big they've not seen before.
Now the story of a bunch of scared stiff fishermen probably isn't the best evidence out there, but well...um...it's some of the best evidence supporting the Megalodon's possible survival. If you wanted to look at it in more scientific terms you could go with the fact that the larger a predator is, the less of them there are. Also we know that large creatures like the Giant Squid, Colossal Squid, and Cthulhu, ok maybe not Cthulhu, exist in the ocean's depths and are so rarely seen that we thought they were just legend for a long time. So I guess what I'm saying is...there's a chance...a slim one, but a good one and that is what counts in the end.
Sources and Further Reading:
Megalodon - Wikipedia
Does Megalodon Still Live? - Elasmo-research
Does Carcharodon Megalodon Still Exist?
Could Megalodon Still Exist?
Note: The shark in the picture is a Great White and not a Megalodon...as far as I know, no real Megalodon photos exist, unless someone is hiding one out there...