The megalodon (big tooth) is definitely extinct. But The Meg, a summer sharkfest blockbuster set to premiere on August 10, might have you believe otherwise. The film is certainly not billed—even facetiously—as a documentary (take note, Discovery Channel), but if the Jurassic Park franchise taught us anything, it’s that the spark of the imagination needs only the slightest passing breeze to roar into a conflagration.
Great White vs Megalodon Tooth
“People ask me [if the megalodon is still alive] every day,” says Dana Ehret, a curator of paleobiology at the New Jersey State Museum. He adds, for good measure: “The answer is no.” The true story of the megalodon may not culminate in a jaw-dropping showdown of man versus shark—but its legacy is no less cinematic.
In its heyday, the megalodon was a force to be reckoned with. These gargantuan chompers first arose around 15.9 million years ago as one of the last strongholds of a now-extinct lineage of megatooth sharks. Running up to 60 feet long and weighing over 50 tons, the “meg” was one of the largest apex predators to ever exist—and certainly the most king-sized among sharks.
Contrary to popular belief, great whites are not the long lost grandchildren of megs. But both occupy the throne at the top of the food chain—just at very different points in history. Because of this, many theories on megalodon physiology and behavior are based on great whites; however, scientists now know these two species independently developed similarities without much of a genetic connection.
To keep in tip-top shape, megalodon likely snacked on whales, dolphins, and seals, consuming a literal ton of food each day—a job made easy by serrated six-inch teeth that, en masse, have the strongest bite force of any animal in history.
Even if megalodon occasionally scavenged, they were likely active predators, as evidenced by the ghastly grooves found in whale and dolphin bones scattered along the world’s shores. Read More Here