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Megalodon: Myth or Reality?
October 18, 2022
If you saw the 2018 movie “The Meg” about a giant shark living in the deep which made it’s way to the surface and terrorized a bunch of American and Chinese scientists, you may have thought it was just another example of Hollywood flirting with fiction. What you may not realize is that the “Meg” is based on the Megalodon, a giant, prehistoric shark that became extinct 2.5 million years ago, or that some believe that megalodons are still out there somewhere.
According to fossils found in the ocean, megalodon sharks measured almost 60 feet long, although some scientists believe that may have been up to 82 feet in length. Megalodon means “big tooth” because of the size of the extinct creatures’ massive teeth and jaws.
Possibly resembling a great white shark, megalodons had serrated teeth and would have hunted whales, large fish, and possibly even other sharks. Because of the Megalodon’s massive size, it needed to eat a lot of food and needed to hunt large prey to maintain its estimated 50-70 ton weight. In order to take down prey this size it needed to be able to open its mouth so wide that it could have easily swallowed two adult people standing side-by-side. However, as is often the case in Hollywood, the size of the giant shark in ”The Meg” was exaggerated, making it look larger than its scientifically accurate counterpart.
While megalodons are believed to have gone extinct due to colder water temperatures, some people speculate they may still exist and be living in the Mariana Trench, a section of the Pacific Ocean which is believed to be the deepest ocean trench in the world. In fact, underwater cameras have been sent down into the trench and have captured pictures and footage of giant sharks, while scientists have also discovered an active underwater volcano with sharks living inside. Some even argue that the reason we haven’t found a megalodon yet is because it lives inside this volcano which provides the warmer temperatures they need to survive.
While we may never know the truth about megalodon’s in today’s world, you can be sure that they will continue to inspire stories and movies such as “The Meg 2: The Trench” which will hit theaters in 2023.
For more information about megalodons, check out these sources:
https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/facts/megalodon – National Geographic – More facts and information about Megalodon
https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/megalodon–the-truth-about-the-largest-shark-that-ever-lived.html – Natural History Meuseum on the topic of Megalodon