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Megalodon-The prehistoric monster shark

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Description

       The Megalodon , ("giant tooth") was one of the biggest, ferocious  prehistoric animal ever lived on Earth. Megalodon ruled the temperate and warm waters of all the oceans between 25 and 1.5 million years ago. They hunted in a variety of environments including coastal zones, lagoons, and deep water. Megalodon was a shark that grew up to the length of two City buses and preyed on whales and other sharks.

jumping megalodon shark

       Fossils of Megalodon teeth have been found on every continent with the exception of Antarctica and have even been found in the Mariana trench. Several fossil sites including the Calvert Formation of Maryland and the Bone Valley Formation of Florida represent nursery sites where live young were born in safe and prey-rich waters.
       Megalodon consumed a variety of whales and other large marine fauna. Bite marks in whale bones match up perfectly with marks that would have been made by Megalodon teeth. Also, Megalodon teeth are often found in association with fossil whale bones. Research has found that Megalodon rammed and tried to break the bones of smaller whales, injuring them before consuming them.Another tactic would be to bite off the flippers and tails of larger whales, immobilizing them before going in for the kill.


megalodon_hunting

       Megalodon is regarded as one of the largest and most powerful predators in vertebrate history. C. Megalodon likely had a profound impact on structuring of the marine communities. Fossil remains indicate that this giant shark reached a total length  of more than 16 metres (52 ft), and also affirm that it had a cosmopolitan distribution. Scientists suggest that C. Megalodon looked like a stockier version of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, in life.

 

Discovery & Fossils - Teeth  
       Because sharks are made of cartilage and not bone, it is a common misconception that teeth are the only parts of the shark that fossilize but the fact is that fossilized cartilage are harder to find. Shark teeth are the most common type of fossil for a number of reasons and one of it is that shark teeth like most teeth are made of dentin, a hard calcified tissue harder and denser than bone that does not easily decompose.

Megalodon_tooth_and_modern_shark 
       The first descriptions of Megalodon teeth originated in the Renaissance period of Europe, with the teeth being interpreted as the petrified tongues of dragons and snakes; called glossopetrae. In 1667, Danish naturalist Nicolaus Steno recognized them as shark teeth and mentioned them in his texts. Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz named the fossil shark Carcharodon megalodon in 1835.
       The megalodon was placed in the Carcharadon genus based on the similarity of the teeth to those of the Great White shark. Isolated sharks’ teeth are the most commonly preserved and collected vertebrate fossils from Neogene marine sediments worldwide.  In 1988 an exceptionally well-preserved individual of a white shark, Carcharodon, was collected from approximately 4-million-year-old (early Pliocene) sediments of the Pisco Formation of southern Peru. This specimen contains 222 teeth on the upper and lower jaws and a series of 45 vertebral centra.


Megalodon_jaws

       Triangular fossil teeth often found embedded in rocky formations were once believed to be petrified tongues, or glossopetrae, of the dragons and snakes. This interpretation was corrected in 1667 by a Danish naturalist Nicolaus Steno who recognized them as ancient shark teeth.The most common fossils of C. Megalodon are its teeth : triangular shape, robust structure, large size,fine serrations and visible v-shaped neck. The teeth of C. Megalodon can measure over 180 millimetres (7.1 in) in slant height or diagonal length, and are the largest in size of any known shark species.

      Among extant species the great white shark is regarded as the best analogue to C. Megalodon. The lack of well preserved fossil skeletons of C. Megalodon have forced scientists to rely on the morphology of the great white shark for the basis of its reconstruction and size estimation.

 

 Anatomy  
       Due to fragmentary remains estimating the size of C. Megalodon has been challenging. The first attempt to reconstruct the jaw of this shark was made by Professor Bashford Dean in 1909 and from the dimensions of this jaw reconstruction, it was hypothesized that C. Megalodon could have approached 30 metres (98 ft) in total length . Later in 1973, an ichthyologist from Hawaii, John E. Randall, introduced a method to estimate the total length of the great white shark.

megalodon_compared

       Based on this method he measures some specimen of teeth and yielded a corresponding total length of about 13 metres In 2002, shark researcher Dr. Clifford Jeremiah with his method yielded 15.5 metres (51 ft) total length of a Megalodon. After all researches and methods : The maximum size attained by C. Megalodon is indicated by the 20 m scale.According to a theory model, a 15.9 metres (52 ft) long C. Megalodon would have a body mass of about 47 metric tons (52 short tons).  
       C. Megalodon had a very robust dentition, and it had a total of about 276 teeth in its jaws, spanning 5 rows, also researches  indicate that it had one of the most powerful bites in history. At 15.9 metres (52 ft) long, C. Megalodon was capable of exerting a bite force estimated at 108,514 newtons (24,395 lbf) and its bite force at maximum estimated size is over 28 times greater than that of Dunkleosteus, over 10 times greater than that of the great white shark over 5 times greater than that of T. rex.

 

Range and habitat
       C. Megalodon had enough behavioral flexibility to inhabit wide range of marine environments (i.e. coastal shallow waters, coastal upwelling, swampy coastal lagoons, sandy littorals, and offshore deep water environments.

 

Extinction
•    Oceanic cooling and sea level drops might be influenced C. Megalodon. Fossil evidence confirms the absence of C. Megalodon in regions around the world where water temperatures had significantly declined during the Pliocene. These oceanographic changes may have restricted many of the suitable warm water nursery sites for C. Megalodon
•    Decline in food supply  Ever since the remains of C. Megalodon was discovered, it has been an object of fascination. It has been portrayed in several works of fiction including films and novels and continues to hold its place among the most popular subjects for fiction involving sea monsters.
       Many of these works of fiction posit that at least a relict population of C. Megalodon survived extinction and lurk in the vast depths of the ocean, and that individuals may manage to surface from the vast depths, either by human intervention or by natural means.

 

Interesting Facts

•    Teeth over 180 mm (7 inch)
•    Incredible bite force overtaken Tyrannosaurus Rex and Great White shark or other prehistoric animal, in fact was declared as been had the most powerful bite of any creature that ever lived
•    He lived 1.5 million years ago but his descendants as “Great White Shark” didn’t evolved to much which makes the shark a real “killing machine”
•    Huge dimensions : around 20 m and  around 50 tones
•    Large variety of food from prehistoric whales that swam the earth's oceans during the Pliocene and Miocene epochs, but also chewing down on dolphins, squids, fish, and even giant turtles (whose shells, as tough as they were, couldn't hold up against 10 tons of biting force).
•    Based on the recovery of a giant white shark tooth piercing a cetacean lumbar vertebra, the predator-prey relationship is discussed under the hypothesis of initial shark attack, subsequent floating transport of the cetacean carcass, and scavenging prior to deposition on the bottom.
•    The largest tooth, measuring 7 5/8 inches in length along the diagonal with 7 ¼ inches of it fully exposed above the gum line, and is among the largest Megalodon tooth ever discovered.

 

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Sources
http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/otherprehistoriclife/a/Megalodon-facts.htm
http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/dinosaurpictures/ig/Megalodon-Pictures/Megalodon.-4LX.htm
http://scienceray.com/earth-sciences/paleontology/megaladon/ http://2dgf.dk/xpdf/bull32-01-02-1-32.pdf
http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02988410 http://forummf.free.fr/upload/Carcharodon.pdf
http://fineart.ha.com/s/d/shark-jaws.pdf http://www.fossilguy.com/gallery/vert/fish-shark/remnant.htm

Pictures
http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/35100000/Great-White-great-white-shark-35107199-1600-1200.jpg (1)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Megalodon.jpg(3)
http://blogs.discovery.com/.a/6a00d8341bf67c53ef0133ed7548c4970b-pi (4)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Megalodon_tooth_ruler.jpg (5)
http://media.boingboing.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/201205020905.jpg (6)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/Megalodon_teeth.png(7)
http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/295/c/e/megafauna_size_comparison_mk2_by_harry_the_fox-d2xt9nb.jpg(8)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7a/Megalodon_shark_jaws_museum_of_natural_history_068.jpg(9)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/Carcharodon_megalodon_P1060082.jpg(10)
http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/51fc1032ecad04f73700001d-1200/they-were-much-larger-than-tyrannosaurus-rex-megalodons-weighed-up-to-100-tons-while-t-rex-weighed-a-puny-9-tons.jpg (11)
http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2014/104/4/e/megalodon_by_sdavis75-d7ehsap.jpg(12)
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_bccOtC16ZMk/TFRAKufp55I/AAAAAAAAADk/OVUn5W5GkXo/s1600/CIMG3198.JPG(13)
ttps://dinosours.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/img_0207.jpg(14)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/Megalodon_jaws_on_display_at_the_National_Baltimore_Aquarium.jpg(15)
http://wallfc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Megalodon-Tooth.jpg(16)
http://www.desktopwallpapers4.me/animals/great-white-shark-19825/(17)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4d/Megalodon_scale.svg/1280px-Megalodon_scale.svg.png(18) 
http://sharksonline.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/megalodon_lg.jpg(19)
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