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  • It's the largest ocean predator that ever lived.

  • Its jaws were so big, a full-grown human could comfortably stand inside of them with overhead

  • room to spare.

  • Its individual teeth were bigger than a human hand.

  • It's Megalodon, the most perfect killing machine evolution ever created.

  • To get a real sense of how incredible an animal Megalodon was, we have to compare it with

  • its closest modern day cousin- the Great White Shark.

  • Great Whites are the stuff of nightmares, over 2.5 times as long as a human being and

  • with serrated teeth that can make short work of an unlucky diver.

  • But even this fearsome predator is a shrimp compared to Megalodon, and would have hardly

  • been anything more than a light appetizer to the monster shark.

  • Megalodon was estimated to grow as large as 50 to 60 feet (15-18 meters), which is bigger

  • than the largest school buses.

  • Next time you're happily riding to school, or taking the bus to work, look around at

  • the passengers with you and imagine that all of you could easily fit inside of Megalodon's

  • stomach.

  • Compare that with the average Great White, which can grow as big as 20 feet (6 meters),

  • or about a third of Megalodon's length.

  • However, it's not just length that matters, it's also girth, and Megalodon packed some

  • serious pounds weighing in at a whopping 100 tons, versus the measly 2.3 tons of today's

  • Great White.

  • Megalodon meanslarge toothfor a reason, with an average tooth measuring 7 inches long

  • (18 cm), and the average Great White having a tooth around 2 inches in length (use photo

  • comfortably make an axe out of a single tooth- imagine how hardcore your Minecraft Survival

  • experience would be if you had to hunt down a Megalodon just to build an axe.

  • Those teeth were behind the strongest bite ever measured by science, with a Megalodon

  • having an estimated bite force of 10 to 18 tons, versus a Great White's 1.8 tons.

  • That's an even stronger bite than a T-rex, with a 3 ton bite and long-time King of the

  • Chompers.

  • Of Course Megalodon needed that bite force and huge teeth, because its primary prey was

  • whales.

  • No, we're not talking about baby whales like the way great whites and other predators will

  • sometimes kill- a baby whale wouldn't have been worth the calories expended to hunt it

  • down and eat it.

  • We're talking about full-sized whales as big as modern humpbacks.

  • Only prey that big could possibly satisfy Megalodon's ravenous appetite, though the

  • young would have hunted smaller prey such as seals, dolphins and sirenians- animals

  • such as dugongs and manatees.

  • Basically if you entered the ocean 20 million years ago, you ran the risk of being eaten

  • by a Megalodon at some stage of its life- absolutely nothing was safe from this incredible

  • predator.

  • But surely the biggest animals to ever live would have been safe from Megalodon, right?

  • The largest animal to ever live is the Blue Whale, which can have sizes up to 100 feet

  • (30 meters) in length.

  • That's roughly 25% bigger than a Megalodon- but to a Meg a modern blue whale would have

  • been nothing but a buffet.

  • Not only could the Meg's powerful jaws take massive bites out of a blue whale, but it's

  • believed that Megalodon hunted larger whales by biting off their flippers in a drive-by

  • style attack.

  • The whales would be left stranded and swimming in circles, leaving Megalodon to finish its

  • meal at its leisure.

  • Smaller whales were simply bitten in half by Megalodon's crushing jaws.

  • What about the biggest predators to ever swim the seas?

  • How would they have fared against a Megalodon?

  • The Tylosaurus was a species of Mosasaur, and nature's answer to spreading the terrifying

  • power of dinosaurs to the oceans.

  • Reaching a length of 50 feet (15 meters), Tylosaurus would have rivaled the average

  • Megalodon in size.

  • But Tylosaurus didn't hunt animals as big as whales, and stomach remains have shown

  • that it ate smaller mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, fish, and sharks.

  • The largest teeth discovered size at just over 2 inches (5 cm), which would have been

  • like bringing a switchblade to the Megalodon's machete fight.

  • Simply put, the only ocean predator that could rival a Megalodon was another, bigger Megaladon.

  • But, if the Meg was the absolute pinnacle of predator evolution, then why did it die

  • out?

  • And could it still live today?

  • Scientists have proposed that Megalodons were wiped out due to one of two events 2.6 million

  • years ago.

  • One Meg Killer was believed to be a supernova explosion near the earth, which would have

  • showered the planet with deadly radiation.

  • Smaller animals, and those living at greater depths in the ocean, would have been less

  • affected by the radiation washing over the planet, as their smaller bodies would have

  • absorbed less of it.

  • However, the massive Megalodons would have been exposed to massive doses of radiation,

  • causing untold genetic harm- maybe even outright death.

  • As the big sharks died off around the world, or passed down damaged DNA, the entire lineage

  • would have slowly died off over time.

  • The next Meg-killer, and perhaps working in conjunction with a supernova, was believed

  • to be climate change.

  • The earth goes through regular cycles of warming and cooling- and no, the earth is not in a

  • natural warming cycle now so if you're a climate change denier, you can just stop it with the

  • bad science.

  • In fact, the earth was well on its way to another ice age before the industrial revolution.

  • 2.6 million years ago the Earth experienced one of these cooling cycles, and as oceans

  • cooled the Meg's hunting ranges began to shrink dramatically.

  • Overcompetition for smaller amounts of prey would have led to an ecosystem collapse which

  • would have killed off the Meg while allowing smaller, more adaptable sharks to survive.

  • However, both of these theories are now believed to be incorrect.

  • New data shows that Megaladon probably went extinct a full million years earlier than

  • thought- at a date that just happens to coincide with the arrival of the predator that to this

  • day makes you scan the waves around you every time you take a dip in the ocean.

  • That's right, the Great White Shark, and as soon as it showed up on the scene it meant

  • serious trouble for Meg.

  • That's because while much, much smaller, Great Whites are believed to have outcompeted young

  • Megalodon for prey.

  • With young Megs unable to feed, the entire species would have collapsed.

  • Other data shows that at the height of Megalodon's reign, whales actually began to evolve to

  • become smaller- possibly because being smaller proved to be an advantage during the reign

  • of the largest sea predator to have ever lived.

  • Megalodon's size can be misleading- while it absolutely could have eaten anything in

  • the ocean, only large prey could have satisfied Megalodon, and prolonged chases for smaller

  • prey could actually result in a calorie deficit even if the hunt was successful.

  • With its main food source shrinking in size, and Great White Sharks out competing young

  • Megs, the fate of the largest sea predator to ever live was sealed.

  • Or was it?

  • Could Meg exist today?

  • Throughout history there have been sightings of giant sharks, and while many of these are

  • almost certainly nothing but fish tales, some beg the question if Megalodon is still with

  • us.

  • In 1875 the British ship HMS Challenger discovered a pair of Megalodon teeth which were dated

  • by studying the layers of manganese dioxide built up on the teeth.

  • The date the examination arrived at stunned all who reviewed- and confirmed- the results:

  • this particular Megalodon had died between 11,000 and 24,000 years ago.

  • Right as humans were discovering agriculture, anyone taking a dip in the sea could have

  • been prey to this Megalodon.

  • Modern analysis however has cast this discovery in serious doubt.

  • While the date has not been disproven, we now know that the incredible resilience of

  • shark teeth to erosion can make it extremely difficult to date them accurately.

  • Australia is well known for its shark populations, but it might just be home to the mighty Meg

  • itself.

  • In 1981 Australian naturalist David Stead interviewed a group of fishermen that all

  • but swore off ever returning to the sea.

  • According to the men, a massive shark surfaced as they were hauling their crayfish pots on

  • board, and took several of the pots whole into its massive mouth.

  • The strength of the animal was so incredible that it actually took the floats supporting

  • the 3-foot crayfish pots into the depths with it.

  • The men swore to authorities that the water seemed to 'boil' as the shark surfaced, and

  • that the animal was definitely not a whale.

  • Just two decades earlier though, another sighting of a shark of similar size had occurred.

  • In the 1960s an 85 foot (26 meters) shipping vessel was forced to weigh anchor while the

  • engine underwent repairs.

  • The crew on board was stunned to see a massive shark nearly as big as their ship swim lazily

  • past, and swore on their lives the animal had not been a whale.

  • Australia is not the only place with possible Megalodon sightings though, and for anyone

  • planning a vacation to Mexico's sunny coasts, you may want to think twice about getting

  • in that water.

  • For decades fishermen in the area have told tales of the Black Demon of Cortez, which

  • is a massive shark that roams the waters off Mexico's Baja coast.

  • The shark has very dark coloring- almost black- and has been reported to be as large as 60

  • feet (19 meters), with a tail that sticks five feet out of the water as the shark swims

  • along the surface.

  • That would definitely put it in Megalodon territory, and while many claim that fishermen

  • are simply seeing whale sharks, those who have seen the beast for themselves know better.

  • Mainstream science however is not convinced, and according to authorities on the matter,

  • there is no chance that Megalodon still exists.

  • Such a massive shark would have drawn much more attention by now, and the carcasses of

  • its victims would have been discovered with corresponding, massive bite marks.

  • What's more, because shark teeth are continuously growing and being replaced, we would have

  • found ample evidence of very recently deposited shark teeth, with no ambiguity to their date.

  • But the ocean is a very big place, and humanity is still very ignorant about what actually

  • prowls our planet's waters.

  • If a population of Megalodons did survive, how could you possibly survive an encounter

  • with one?

  • Well, lucky for you, you'd probably survive an encounter with a Meg just fine- as long

  • as it was a fully grown adult.

  • Simply put, you're too tiny compared to the mighty meg to be worth the effort of eating,

  • as these giant sharks would be on the lookout for truly hunger-satisfying prey like humpback

  • and sperm whales.

  • Have you ever seen a wildlife documentary on sharks and spotted all the small fishes

  • swimming alongside a great white, completely unbothered?

  • That's basically what you would be to a fully grown Megalodon- just another insignificant,

  • if very weird fish.

  • However, to a juvenile Megalodon, you would be an easy meal, and until the animal reached

  • at least 10 years in age humans would very much be on the menu.

  • Given Megalodon's large diet, unlike a Great White young Megs would likely have no problem

  • with eating humans.

  • Today, Great White attacks are rarely fatal, and almost always a case of mistaken identity-

  • aside from your mom we simply don't have enough fat content to be worth the effort of eating,

  • and a Great White would rather eat itself a plump seal.

  • However, if forced to compete for food, young Megs might have no problem with actively hunting

  • and eating human beings.

  • And given that a young Meg was likely indistinguishable from a Great White, modern accounts of killer

  • sharks may just be juvenile Megalodons getting an easy meal.

  • While science doesn't believe its possible, history's greatest aquatic predator may just

  • be lurking somewhere out there in the unimaginable depths of the sea.

  • Maybe if you're lucky, you'll find out for yourself one day... though it'll likely be

  • a very... fatal discovery.

  • Now go watch You vs The Meg- How Can You Defeat And Survive It?, or click this other video

  • instead!

It's the largest ocean predator that ever lived.

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    Summer posted on 2021/05/14
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