The Extinction of the Megalodon shark may have been caused by great white competition.
A prehistoric food fight may have been the end of the megalodon, the world’s largest shark.
According to research on the ocean giant’s fossil teeth, it had to compete for food with another ferocious predator, the great white shark. The battle for dwindling whale and other prey stocks may have driven the megalodon to extinction three million years ago. Environmental forces, such as rising sea levels, also played a role. The megalodon’s extinction has remained a mystery.
Many different factors have been proposed, ranging from habitat loss due to sea-level changes to prey reduction. Zinc isotopes in the teeth of living and extinct sharks were used by international researchers to deduce the diet of long-dead animals. Chemical clues in living shark teeth and 13 fossil megalodon teeth suggest that the great white shark and the megalodon once shared similar food web positions and may have competed for the same food, which included whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
According to the scientists, this, along with climate change and other environmental pressures, may have contributed to the megalodon’s extinction. The megalodon (Otodus megalodon) was a megatooth shark that lived in the oceans between 22 million and three million years ago. Its name translates as “big tooth.”
The megalodon, which is three times larger than the great white shark, can grow to be 18m (60ft) long and weigh up to 60 tonnes.
While the megalodon may have been the only apex predator hunting similar prey for millions of years, the arrival of the great white shark about 5.3 million years ago added another apex predator hunting similar prey.
This struggle for food supplies featured two iconic animals: the great white shark from the blockbuster 1975 film “Jaws” and its sequels, and the megalodon from the popular 2018 film ‘The Meg.’ Megalodon (Otodus megalodon) first arose about 15 million years ago and went out about 3.6 million years ago. It was one of the world’s largest predators, reaching at least 50 feet (15 metres) and possibly 65 feet (20 metres) in length while feeding on marine mammals such as whales.
Carcharodon carcharias, the great white shark, can grow to be at least 20 feet (6 metres) long and may have been the more agile of the two. “During the early Pliocene, the megalodon co-existed with the great white shark, and our zinc data indicate that they appear to have occupied the same place in the food chain,” the researchers write. There are several theories as to why Megalodon became extinct. Climate change and a decline in food sources, according to conventional wisdom. However, a recent hypothesis contends that the megalodon was outcompeted by the newly evolved great white shark.
According to the researchers, it is unlikely that the great white hunted its larger cousin.
The study used teeth from 20 living shark species and 13 fossil species to determine their food chain position.
“Our ‘primary producers,’ or photosynthetic organisms such as phytoplankton that convert sun energy to food, are at the bottom of the food chain.” There is still a lot we don’t know about the megalodon. despite the fact that it has played an important role in marine ecosystems for millions of years. Because shark skeletons are cartilaginous rather than bony, they do not fossilise well, making it difficult to determine exactly what Megalodon looked like. However, numerous megalodon tooth fossils have been discovered all over the world.
Megalodon is commonly depicted in novels and films as a massive, monstrous shark, but we still know very little about this extinct shark.