Long ago, and we’re talking millions of years ago, very different animals roamed and swam on this Earth. The oceans too were home to many fish species that have been extinct for millions of years. This includes the precursor to the sharks we know today: the Megalodon.

The Megalodon was a gigantic shark species that we can no longer imagine. While we consider sharks of two or three meters to be large, the average length of the Megalodon was around 18 meters, and it is not excluded that they could grow even larger.

The Megalodon lived in times when humanity did not yet exist


Still, creatures swim in the deep oceans that have probably been on Earth for millions of years. The Megalodon, however, was extinct before humans were. How do we know? Sharks replace their teeth throughout their lives. Megalodon teeth have been found all over the world, and with them, it can be established when these prehistoric sharks became extinct.

The current largest shark is just a little one

Megalodon teeth
Fallows C, Gallagher AJ, Hammerschlag N (2013)

The white shark, also called a man-eater shark, is currently the largest predatory fish in the world. The white shark grows to about 6 meters long, the Megalodon was about three times larger! And above, you see the difference in size of the teeth!

Many times stronger than the white shark

white shark
Fallows C, Gallagher AJ, Hammerschlag N (2013)

A bite from the white shark has an enormous force of 1.8 tons. The Megalodon, on the other hand, exerted a force on its jaws of between 10.2 and 18.2 tons. Even biting a whale in half was no trouble for the Megalodon.

The dimensions of the Megalodon

size Megalodon

Although experts are still not sure about the exact dimensions, it is estimated that the Megalodon had an average size of between 12 and 30 meters. Its weight would be 50 to 75 tons.

Food of the Megalodon

Megalodon diet
Karen Carr/wikimedia commons

What would a shark with such large dimensions actually eat? It must also be something big? The Megalodon fed on prehistoric whales, dolphins, and giant turtles.

Never near the coast

If the Megalodon had lived today, you still could not easily encounter it. Its body had such an enormous size that it would never dare to come close to the coast, as it would beach itself.

Gigantic teeth

huge teeth Megalodon

The largest teeth of the white shark are about 5 centimeters. We already find this huge. The Megalodon had teeth of at least 15 centimeters. You can imagine what a terrifying predator it must have been. A tooth could be as big as your hand.

Yet not the biggest

not the largest animal in the sea

Compared to the current largest sea creatures, the Megalodon is not the very largest. The blue whale still swims in the current oceans. The blue whale is on average 25 meters long and weighs about 100 tons. The Megalodon is slightly smaller compared to the blue whale.

The habitat of the Megalodon

Megalodon where lives

Many prehistoric fish species lived only in certain areas. This was not the case for the Megalodon. The Megalodon was truly the king of the oceans and seas. There is no specific habitat for the Megalodon to point out; he lived in almost all oceans and seas around the world.

Nothing stopped the teeth of the Megalodon

Megalodon biting power

When the white shark attacks a prey, it goes directly for the softest body parts, such as the underbelly. The Megalodon had no trouble with prey. His teeth could directly tear through the cartilage of prey. Therefore, the Megalodon did not have to be picky with his food.

The extinction of the Megalodon

Megalodon death

While we are currently afraid of the extinction of species due to global warming, the Megalodon became extinct due to global cooling, which ultimately led to the last Ice Age. It was not so much the cold itself. The extinction of the prehistoric whale, which was its main food source, was the main reason for the extinction of the Megalodon.

Menno, from the Netherlands, is an expert in unearthing fascinating facts and unraveling knowledge. At Top10HQ, he delves into the depths of various subjects, from science to history, bringing readers well-researched and intriguing insights.

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