This is my element, seawater water courses over my interlocking dermal scales forcing the currents to streamline my bulk, I circumnavigate the deep and delve into the unknown for my prey, this is my domain and my world has no limits, my mass is sixteen meters and fifty tonnes, I am the intimidating predator, I am evolution, I am shark...


fossil shark teeth






Megalodon the terror of the Cenozoic oceans may have been edged into extinction by one of the most docile mammals on the planet. New research published this month reveals conclusive evidence of the feeding habits of Megalodon. Alberto Collareta, of the University of Pisa, explains in the New Scientist magazine, that in his paper published in the journal of Palaeogeography,

Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoecology. For the first time we can establish what was the prey species of the Megalodon shark, the extinct 50 tonnes, 60 foot prehistoric Mega-mouth shark with massively gapping toothed jaws about 10 feet wide, the reported whale killer of the Oligocene and Pliocene epoch’s (28 m.y.a - 2.6 m.y.a.), that's a run of over 25 million years of terror before Megalodon itself became extinct.


fossil shark teeth


Megalodon the warm water predator shark of the Oligocene to early Pleistocene. Prevalent in the waters of what is today North American, the southern waters off the coasts of Florida and the Carolinas, where Megalodon fed on early pygmy type Baleen whales, Priscbalaena nana and large seals Priscophoca Pacifica. Both mammals around 5 metres long (around one-third of Megalodon’s length), these were the perfect bite size prey for the Mega-mouthed shark. Coincidentally also about the size of a modern-day humpback whale calf (a humpback calf, at around 4 metres, was captured on film being attacked and killed by dusky sharks [Carcharhinus obscures 2-3 metres long], off the coast of South Africa), could this behaviour be a lineage trend passed from ancient ancestors to extant modern-day sharks?

As these early pygmy baleen whales and seals developed in warm shallow waters so did Megalodon, growing to enormous sizes. With prolific serrated edged teeth up to 7.25 inches in size (A modern-day mature adult Gt.White shark of around 20-25 foot, has teeth in size range from 2 inches to 2.5 inches). Holding a large fossil Megalodon tooth in one's hands is the only real way to gauge the terror of Megalodon of the Cenozoic. With a battery of up to 250 razor-sharp triangular teeth in jaws big enough to swallow a small car.




AAlongside Megalodon larger whales developed in deeper water. Megalodon bite marks discovered in large whale vertebra and bones, led for some time in thinking large whales were Megalodon’s main prey source. However, it is not yet clear whether this could have been due to scavenging large whale carcasses. In fact, these large whales may well be a significant key to Megalodon’s extinction. Too big to successfully hunt when the smaller baleen whales became extinct Megalodon suffered a decline. Cetaceans rapid development coincided with climate change.

The globes poles became colder and trapped more significant quantities of ice, seawater levels dropped globally, affecting coastal regions like the shallow sea ecosystems of the pygmy baleen whales. Baleen whales started a trend into extinction. The remaining baleen whales hunted out and in decline meant the Megalodon also declined. Food habitats changed, seasonal increases around the poles of production of vast quantities of food resulted in significant whale migration, as they were better equipped to survive in the much colder food-rich waters of the artic, not Megalodon, which favoured warmer water.


Meg teeth fossils


Studies have shown when large sharks move out of an area or decline in numbers smaller sharks thrive. Catalina Piemiento of the University of Zurich, in a 6-year study points towards the decrease in Megalodon coinciding with the development of large whales and an increase in smaller sharks, however, she claims further work is needed to establish her findings fully. Could this competition also have added considerable pressure to the Megalodon plight? With baleen whales in decline and while seals more easily changed their feeding habits or were hunted out by smaller sharks, Megalodon suffered.

And continued on a steady decline. Baleens became extinct around 3 million years ago, 400,000 years later (2.6 m.y.a.), Megalodon followed. Other sharks took the place of Megalodon. A lot more research will be needed and fossils to be yet discovered, with more intriguing feeding marks, before science can establish the whole Megalodon Cenozoic scene story, this is a work in progress…



Megalodon shark history