Science of ‘The Meg’: How scientists know the world’s largest shark is gone without end (News)

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Image a shark so long as a bowling lane, with tooth larger than your hand and a chunk as highly effective as a T. rex‘s. This toothy predator is named Megalodon. It was the most important shark that ever lived — and maybe fortuitously for us, it went extinct virtually three million years in the past.

However within the film “The Meg,” one, solitary Megalodon continues to be lurking within the depths of the Pacific Ocean. It assaults a deep-sea submersible and terrorizes beachgoers, till a crew of intrepid marine biologists determine methods to defeat the large shark and save the day. Is that even remotely attainable?

Now, Megalodon was an actual shark. It measured as much as 60 ft (18 meters) lengthy and was the biggest shark that ever lived. Most Megalodon fossilsdate to 15 million years in the past. However about 2.6 million years in the past, all proof of this monumental shark vanished. [Image Gallery: Ancient Monsters of the Sea]

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To be honest, the ocean’s a giant place — it covers 71 % of Earth’s floor and extends to depths as much as 36,200 ft (11,000 m). How do scientists know for positive that Megalodon actually did go extinct, and that there is not a rogue big shark hiding on the market someplace?

The factor is, scientists are fairly sure that Megalodon is lengthy gone. This is how they know.

Probably the most considerable Megalodon fossils are their tooth. The distinctive look of those tooth and the place they’re discovered, assist scientists reconstruct the extinct shark’s dimension and the place it lived.

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Megalodon tooth disappeared from the fossil file about 2.6 million years in the past. Sharks shed tooth all through their lifetimes, so not discovering tooth wherever is a reasonably good signal that the sharks are gone.

Based mostly on the distribution of their fossil tooth, they lived in tropical and subtropical waters all over the world, so it isn’t like they have been restricted to small, remoted ranges the place a rogue survivor may conceal out and probably be missed.

Their desire for heat waters additionally implies that a lone shark in all probability would not conceal within the chilly ocean depths, and would extra seemingly feed close to the floor, the place they’d be simply seen.

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And simply assume for a minute about how a lot meals a 60-foot shark would want to outlive. A hungry predatory beast the scale of a bus would put a fairly large dent in marine ecosystems — which the business fishing business would in all probability discover. Large marine predators additionally depart behind recognizable marks in gnawed bones and scars in survivors’ our bodies (or on their carcasses). However no such proof has surfaced.

There is not any query that Megalodon was a formidable animal — however the one means that we’ll be seeing one now’s in films like “The Meg,” and as fossils in pure historical past museums.

Unique article on Reside Science.

 

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