Megalodon, prehistoric monster that still scares us
It was the greatest predator in history: the megalodon (Carcharodon Megalodon or Carcharocles Megalodon) was the ancestor of modern sharks and lived between 23 and 2.6 million years ago.
Scientists believe it is extinct, but there are those who do not rule out it may have survived to this day, like any Coelacanth.
Physically similar to the white shark, the megalodon could measure up to 18 meters, compared to 4-6 meters of the current predator that having been present in the oceans for 16 million years must have coexisted for some millions of years with his major relative.
The shark frightens us
If you are afraid of a white shark, which has had a bad reputation since 1975, when Steven Spielberg's movie “Jaws” debuted in the theaters, but that nevertheless killed 65 men all over the world between 1876 and 2008 (4 of them were in Italy), you would have been much more afraid of a megalodon.
With a mass that could reach 38 tons this ancient shark had to eat up to 4-5 tons of meat a day to survive and with a jaw opening of more than 2 meters it is believed that even whales could be eaten.
People likes megalodon on TV and at cinema
Finding one in front of you would not really be a good experience, but despite the suggestion of films like “The Meg” or television “mockumentaries” as “MegMegalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” by Discovery Channel, the vast majority of researchers believe that this gigantic predator has been extinct for millions of years.
However the discovery of two megalodon teeth in the South Pacific by Hms Challanger expedition which were dated between 24 and 11 thousand years ago (even if the techniques used for the estimation are controversial), therefore in geologically recent times, leaves a minimum possibility that some megalodon may have survived beyond the Pleistocene, “hidden” in the depths of the oceans.
Does megalodon still live?
The hypothesis, fascinating and terrible, however, contrasts with what we know about the megalodon, that is that compared to the white shark lived closer to the coast, being a predator specialized in shallow and relatively warm waters.
Also some testimonies of possible megalodontes observed from afar, including that of the famous American writer Zane Grey, are still considered unreliable, may be the result of sightings of whale sharks, elephant sharks or large white sharks. The same “evidences” shown by Discovery Channel turned out to be false.
Discovery Channel falsified evidence
In 1954 there was no Australian vessel called “Rachel Cohen” that could have been attacked by a giant shark: the original “Rachel Cohen” was in fact destroyed by a fire in 1934.
While the frame of a Nazi U-boot in navigation off Cape Town, in 1942, where you notice a giant shark fin, has simply been “retouched”: in the original footage the fin does not appear.
In short, the risk of a close encounter with the megalodon is very, very, very remote, as well as infrequently it is, fortunately, the possibility that a white shark invites you to lunch, as its lunch.
In any case, be careful before diving into the sea: contrary to what is believed, the white shark does not like hot waters (which are instead favored by the whale shark and could be from any surviving megalodons), preferring those temperate or fresh. Be warned!