Megalodon

From Safaripedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Megalodon

Megalodon (Meg-ah-low-don), big Tooth, the largest carnivorous shark ever known, lived in Late Oligocene to Early Pleistocene. It evolved about the same time the baleen and tooth whales were diversifying. It became extinct as the world grew colder and whales spent more time in the Arctic and Antarctic.


Content List

1. Genera & species

2. Characteristics

a. Size

b. Behavior

3. History of Discovery

4. Paleoenvironment

5. References


Genera and Species

Classification: Chondrichthyes, ‬Elasmobranchii, ‬Lamniformes

Species: C. Megalodon

Synonyms: Procarcharodon megalodon, ‬Megaselachus megalodon .


Characteristics

Megalodon had big teeth that were much larger than those of the living Great White shark. The skeletons of sharks are made up of '‬soft' ‬cartilage, ‬but the vertebrate are made up of harder calcified cartilage. It had a movable upper jaw like modern sharks, that not only moved up and down ‬but could be projected forward independent from the rest of the body. ‬


Size

LENGTH: 15 - 17 m (49 - 56 ft).

WEIGHT: 47 – 103 tons.


Behavior

Megalodon was specialized to prey on whales and other marine mammals. The Great White shark is the best modern model for Megalodon behavior. Hunting whales would have been a challenge, and they shared the ocean with predatory toothed whales and the baleen whales which also retained teeth for much of this time. Whales are large, intelligent and social, so a pod could be expected to have reacted to Megalodon just as dolphins defend against modern sharks.


History of Discovery

Discovery, Agassiz ‬- ‬1843, it is known from teeth and less common vertebrae. Fossil shark teeth are common fossils as a shark loses and regenerates teeth throughout it life.


Paleoenvironment

Found globally in tropical and temperate climates.


References

1. Megalodon. (n.d.). Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.prehistoric-wildlife.com/species/m/Megalodon.html