Megalodon is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 23 to 3.6 million years ago. It was formerly thought to be a member of the family Lamnidae and a close relative of the great white shark. The specific name meGalodon translates to ‘big tooth,’ from Ancient Greek: ‘big, mighty’ and ‘tooth’
About Megalodon in brief
Megalodon is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 23 to 3. 6 million years ago. It was formerly thought to be a member of the family Lamnidae and a close relative of the great white shark. While regarded as one of the largest and most powerful predators to have ever lived, megalodon is known from fragmentary remains, and its appearance and maximum size are uncertain. Its teeth were thick and robust, built for grabbing prey and breaking bone. Megalodon probably had a major impact on the structure of marine communities. It probably targeted large prey, such as whales, seals and sea turtles. Juveniles inhabited warm coastal waters and fed on fish and small whales. As the shark preferred warmer waters, it is thought that oceanic cooling associated with the onset of the ice ages, coupled with the lowering of sea levels and resulting loss of suitable nursery areas, may have contributed to its decline. The extinction of the shark appeared to affect other animals; for example, the size of baleen whales increased significantly after the shark had disappeared. While the earliest remains have been reported from the Late Oligocene, there is disagreement as to when it appeared. It has been thought as young as 16 million years old, with dates ranging from 16,000 to 16,500 years old. There was one apparent description of it in 1881, classifying it as Selache manzonii obliquus. It is also often informally dubbed the “megatooth shark” or “big tooth’ or ‘Megatooth Shark’.
The specific name meGalodon translates to ‘big tooth,’ from Ancient Greek: ‘big, mighty’ and ‘tooth’ The name Carcharodon was used by Louis Agassiz in his 1843 work Recherches sur les poissons fossiles, based on tooth remains. The first scientific description of this shark was in 1835, by Charles Davies Sherborn in 1928 listed an 1835 series of articles by AgASSiz as the firstscientific description of the Shark. The shark is now classified into the extinct family Otodontidae, which diverged from thegreat white shark during the Early Cretaceous. The teeth of megalodons are morphologically similar to those of theGreat white shark, and on the basis of this observation, AgAssiz assigned megalodus to the genus Carcharias. The species is now thought to have lived between 23 and 3.6 million years years ago in the Early Miocene to the Pliocene. It may have been a stockier version of the whale shark, the basking shark or the sand tiger shark. It had a cosmopolitan distribution. It faced competition from whale-eating cetaceans and other macroraptorial sperm whales and possibly smaller ancestral killer whales. It used its strong jaws to break through the chest cavity and puncture the heart and lungs of its prey. A reduction in the diversity of balesen whales and a shift in their distribution toward polar regions may have reduced the primary food source.