Science of 'The Meg': How scientists know the world's largest shark is gone forever
Image a shark so long as a bowling lane, with enamel larger than your hand and a chew as robust as a T. rex‘s. This toothy predator is known as Megalodon. It was once the largest shark that ever lived — and most likely thankfully for us, it went extinct nearly three million years in the past.
However within the film “The Meg,” one, solitary Megalodon remains to be lurking within the depths of the Pacific Ocean. It assaults a deep-sea submersible and terrorizes beachgoers, till a workforce of intrepid marine biologists work out methods to defeat the large shark and save the day. Is that even remotely imaginable?
Now, Megalodon was once an actual shark. It measured as much as 60 ft (18 meters) lengthy and was once the biggest shark that ever lived. Maximum Megalodon fossilsdate to 15 million years in the past. However about 2.6 million years in the past, all proof of this huge shark vanished. [Image Gallery: Ancient Monsters of the Sea]
To be truthful, the sea’s a large position — it covers 71 % of Earth’s floor and extends to depths as much as 36,200 ft (11,000 m). How do scientists know needless to say that Megalodon in reality did pass extinct, and that there is no such thing as a rogue massive shark hiding available in the market someplace?
The item is, scientists are fairly sure that Megalodon is lengthy long past. Here is how they know.
Essentially the most plentiful Megalodon fossils are their enamel. The unique look of those enamel and the place they are discovered, assist scientists reconstruct the extinct shark’s measurement and the place it lived.
Megalodon enamel disappeared from the fossil file about 2.6 million years in the past. Sharks shed enamel all through their lifetimes, so now not discovering enamel anyplace is a sexy just right signal that the sharks are long past.
In accordance with the distribution in their fossil enamel, they lived in tropical and subtropical waters world wide, so it isn’t like they have been limited to small, remoted levels the place a rogue survivor may just conceal out and in all probability be overpassed.
Their desire for decent waters additionally implies that a lone shark more than likely would not conceal within the chilly ocean depths, and would much more likely feed close to the skin, the place they might be simply noticed.
And simply suppose for a minute about how a lot meals a 60-foot shark would want to live to tell the tale. A hungry predatory beast the dimensions of a bus would put a reasonably large dent in marine ecosystems — which the industrial fishing trade would more than likely understand. Large marine predators additionally depart at the back of recognizable marks in gnawed bones and scars in survivors’ our bodies (or on their carcasses). However no such proof has surfaced.
There is not any query that Megalodon was once an excellent animal — however the one manner that we’re going to be seeing one now could be in films like “The Meg,” and as fossils in herbal historical past museums.
Authentic article on Live Science.