Sunday, February 26, 2006

Megalodon


Can the greatest predator in world history still be alive? It is highly unlikely that this shark, which biologists guess grew anywhere between 60 and 80 feet, and had a mouth that could swallow a modern great white whole, could still exist. However, evidence suggests that it became extinct much more recently than previously thought. While some would have you believe that it went extinct 1-2 million years ago, researchers have found relatively "fresh" teeth in geologic terms, only 11,000 years old. Is it possible that megalodon existed when men were crossing the Berring Straight? These teeth suggest that, and while no white megalodon teeth have been found, is it possible these creatures still exist, hidden in the unexplored depths? Again, this is highly unlikely, but the coelacanth did remain hidden for 60 million years. However, it's hard to compare a hidden 6 foot maximum size fish and a 60 foot giant, which should be much more difficult to "miss,"in my opinion. So does it still exist? It would be nice to imagine that there's something lurking in the depths of the ocean we have not yet seen, but then again, I don't like the idea of something that big sharing the same ocean that I love to dive. I leave you with this excerpt from the site listed above, an Australian account of a giant shark:

In the year 1918 I recorded the sensation that had been caused among the "outside" crayfish men at Port Stephens, when, for several days, they refused to go to sea to their regular fishing grounds in the vicinity of Broughton Island. The men had been at work on the fishing grounds--which lie in deep water--when an immense shark of almost unbelievable proportions put in an appearance, lifting pot after pot containing many crayfishes, and taking, as the men said, "pots, mooring lines and all." These crayfish pots, it should be mentioned, were about 3 feet 6 inches in diameter and frequently contained from two to three dozen good-sized crayfish each weighing several pounds. The men were all unanimous that this shark was something the like of which they had never dreamed of. In company with the local Fisheries Inspector I questioned many of the men very closely and they all agreed as to the gigantic stature of the beast. But the lengths they gave were, on the whole, absurd. I mention them, however, as an indication of the state of mind which this unusual giant had thrown them into. And bear in mind that these were men who were used to the sea and all sorts of weather, and all sorts of sharks as well. One of the crew said the shark was "three hundred feet long at least"! Others said it was as long as the wharf on which we stood--about 115 feet! They affirmed that the water "boiled" over a large space when the fish swam past. They were all familiar with whales, which they had often seen passing at sea, but this was a vast shark. They had seen its terrible head which was "at least as long as the roof on the wharf shed at Nelson's Bay." Impossible, of course! But these were prosaic and rather stolid men, not given to 'fish stories' nor even to talking about their catches. Further, they knew that the person they were talking to (myself) had heard all the fish stories years before! One of the things that impressed me was that they all agreed as to the ghostly whitish color of the vast fish."(3)

In this popular account, we apparently have credible witnesses, and a knowledgeable investigator, Stead, who believed the fishermen were telling the truth (and that they may have witnessed a living Megalodon). I believe the "fact" that they did not return to sea for days could be added to their credibility, and to their loss in wages after the apparently traumatic experience (unless they were hoaxing the entire event, of course.) We also have some rather strange features in this report, including the tremendous lengths the fishermen reported, if we cannot attribute these to exaggeration due to intense fear. If we cannot, then it seems if Megalodon has survived, it may have grown bigger, and I am not sure which idea is scarier.

4 comments:

pialotta said...

Hello John,

we are really glad that you like our photos BUT would appreciate a short note of the origin of the photo in case they are used for any publication.
As a scientist you will understand what we mean.
Thanks and enjoy the photo, the webmaster of http://www.megalodon-haizahn.de

Nintendoll said...

OMG! That's HUGE.
I won't be able to swim in the ocean without thinking about the possibility of that beast...

Anonymous said...

Sorry if this is off topic but I’m thinking of buying this book. Curious if anyone’s has checked out the new book “Hell’s Aquarium” by Steve Alten? I know he’s been a best selling author before, but wanted to see if anyone had read this book first? It’s about the ancient prehistoric shark Megalodon, which makes the current Great White Shark look like a gold fish. Check out the trailer below, pretty awesome:


http://www.variancepublishing.com/meg-hells-aquarium-contest.html

Anonymous said...

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