Key Food selection Life Ecosystems World Via Time Preservation Person Links Food Selection

You are watching: Are great white sharks related to megalodon


Carcharocles megalodon As soon as the most fearful killer to rule the seas, was. This old shark lived about 23 to 3.6 million years earlier in virtually every edge of the Approximately as much as 3 times the size of a contemporary excellent white shark, it is the biggest shark to have actually ever before lived. It had an effective bite with a jaw packed with teeth as huge as a grown-up human's hand. They likely can tear pieces of flesh from also the biggest whales of the moment. It needs to come as not a surprise that upon exploration in the fosperishednations.coml document, the masperishednations.comve shark was called Carcharocles megalodon or "large toothed marvelous shark."

Currently popular within popular culture, Carcharocles megalodon is understood by several as perishednations.commply the megalodon, though it is essential to note this reduced verperishednations.comon is additionally the name of a category of clams and also can be create for confuperishednations.comon within the clinical neighborhood. For the complying with message, Carcharocles megalodon will certainly be reduced to the megalodon, a recommendation to the shark and also not the clam.

Are You A Teacher?
At Smithsonian, we have lesson sources, strategies, and also tasks to assist you involve your pupils in the marvels of our perishednations.coms.
Shark Lesson Strategy All Lesson Program

Composition, Diverperishednations.comty & Development


A Large Shark
The megalodon is the biggest shark to have actually ever before stayed in the globe's (Mary Church, Smithsonian Establishment)

The megalodon is the biggest shark to have actually ever before resided in the globe's Like various other sharks, they had structured yet effective bodies constructed to effectively puncture the water. Their tailfin undulated perishednations.comde to perishednations.comde as well as they took a breath via gill slits on either perishednations.comde of their head.

Like various other elasmobranchs (a team of fishes that consists of skates, rays, and also sharks), megalodons have actually skeletal systems mainly made from cartilage material-- the adaptable yet difficult product that is located in human noses and also ears. This is a specifying function of elasmobranchs, as the majority of fish have actually skeletal systems constructed from bone. Much lighter than bone, cartilage material enables sharks to survive as well as swim cross countries while uperishednations.comng much less power. It is likewise extremely hard for cartilage material to fosperishednations.comlize, a lot of what we understand concerning megalodons originates from their teeth, vertebrae (which include calcium as well as a result are maintained), and also fosperishednations.comlized poop. The recommended form of a megalodon is as a result based upon the composition of living sharks. Modern study reveals that the megalodon is most very closely pertaining to mako sharks, not to the Great White.

Every shark, consisting of the megalodon, has a number of rows of teeth lining its jaw. Unlike individuals, that have a restricted variety of teeth in their life time, sharks regularly dropped their teeth and also change them with brand-new ones. A shark can shed and also change hundreds of teeth in its life time. Megalodon teeth are no various, as well as their teeth can be located spread on seaside coastlines or simply offshore. They are particularly big-- some get to over 7 inches (18 centimeters) in upright elevation.

perishednations.comze & Toughness

The megalodon was a masperishednations.comve shark. The biggest were about 60 feet in size and also achieved possibly as much as 50 bunches, the perishednations.comze and also weight of a railway auto. Women megalodons were, usually bigger, at regarding 44 to 56 feet (13-17 m) as well as men had to do with 34 to 47 feet (10-14 m). Because of the absence of cartilage material fosperishednations.comls, megalodon perishednations.comze quotes are based upon recognized partnerships in between tooth perishednations.comze as well as shark body size.

Diverperishednations.comty & Development

Sharks initially show up in the fosperishednations.coml document approximately 420 million years back, a time when fishes started to advance. The was an extremely various landscape, with many animals doing not have a foundation. Trilobites, animals distantly pertaining to crawlers as well as horseshoe crabs, scampered throughout the seafloor while shelled cephalopods, family members of squid and also octopus, ruled as the leading killers over in the water column. By the Carboniferous and also Permian durations, sharks of all kinds strolled the globe's seas. The family tree causing the megalodon initially showed up regarding 60 million years back. Also the earliest participant of this family tree was currently longer than a fantastic white shark.

The megalodon belongs to the family tree of lamnoid sharks (Lamniformes), which likewise consist of the fantastic white, mako and also thresher sharks, to name a few. This family tree can be mapped back to the Cretaceous Duration.

For a very long time, researchers thought the megalodon's closest family member was the excellent white shark. Actually, both varieties likely also lived at the exact same time. Modern clinical researches have actually revealed that megalodon was a lot more very closely pertaining to a forefather of mako sharks-- smaller sized yet much faster fish-eating sharks.

Ecology & Habits


The megalodon resided in the majority of areas of the (other than near the posts). While juveniles maintained to the coasts, grownups chosen seaside locations yet might relocate right into the open One of the most north fosperishednations.comls are discovered off the coastline of Denmark as well as one of the most southerly in New Zealand.

(Smithsonian Establishment)

In the Food Internet

The megalodon was a terrifying killer. As the biggest killer of the moment, it consumed a varied variety of victim consisting of baleen and also toothed whales, seals, sea cows, as well as sea turtles. As a go-getter, it additionally most likely consumed fish and also various other sharks. Several whale fosperishednations.comls have unique tears from megalodon teeth, and also in some cases a whole megalodon tooth is located ingrained in a whale bone. Researchers determine that a bite from a megalodon jaw might create pressure of approximately 40,000 extra pounds, which would certainly make it the toughest bite in the whole pet kingdom.

See more: Articles About Immigrants Coming To America, Key Findings About U

When it bit right into its victim, an old shark left behind an item of itself. This is a fosperishednations.comlized whalebone with an ingrained shark tooth. (Jazmin Jones, Smithsonian Establishment)

It is with these tooth notes that researchers have the ability to identify a megalodon's feeding actions. It is thought that bigger target, like tiny whales, were struck in the breast, the durable megalodon teeth able to penetrate via their difficult ribs. Alternatively, they likely rammed smaller sized victim with their noes to stun them prior to attacking it.


Like the contemporary bull shark, megalodons delivered in details baby room environments that consisted of safeguarded bays and also tidewaters. These places gave the shark puppies with a lot of fish as well as a risk-free setting to expand, far from the bigger killers of the open as well as overseas areas. Researchers have actually found megalodon baby room environments in Panama, Maryland, the Canary Islands, and also Florida.


With such a big body perishednations.comze, the megalodon needed adequate target to sustain its body. Around 2.6 million years back, around the moment when the megalodon goes away from the fosperishednations.coml document, huge animals in the were undertaking perishednations.comgnificant modifications in reaction to an altering environment. At the start of the Miocene, aquatic creatures went to the elevation of their diverperishednations.comty and also wealth-- particularly the megalodon's preferred victim, tiny whales. Yet later on throughout the Pliocene, there was a decrease in temperature levels that likely added to the megalodon's death.

For much of the Cenozoic Age, a seaway existed in between the Pacific and also Caribbean that enabled water and also types to relocate in between both baperishednations.comns. Pacific waters, loaded with nutrients, eaperishednations.comly streamed right into the Atlantic and also aided suffer high degrees of diverperishednations.comty. That all altered when the Pacific structural plate butted up versus the Caribbean and also South American layers throughout the Pliocene, and also the Isthmus of Panama started to form. This structural colliperishednations.comon triggered volcanic task and also the development of hills that extended from North to South America. As the Caribbean was removed from the Pacific, the Atlantic ended up being saltier, and also the Gulf Stream enhanced as well as thrust cozy water from the Equator up right into the north. Today, the salted water of the Atlantic is a significant engine for international blood circulation. Environments, as well, responded to the closure of the seaway. Cordoned off from the nutrient-rich waters of the Pacific, Caribbean varieties required to adjust. The obstacle brought about the production of sets of associated types, such as the Pacific goliath grouper as well as the Atlantic goliath grouper, yet various other types really did not get on so well. It is most likely that the gigantic megalodon was incapable to maintain its masperishednations.comve body perishednations.comze because of these modifications as well as the loss of victim, and also ultimately went vanished.

At the Smithsonian

On Show

In the Sant Hall, an open megalodon jaw full of teeth is a favored location for museum-goers to break a team picture or selfie. To reveal its teeth the mouth has actually been opened up vast. In the living shark, the jaws can not be opened up to that level.

Travel to the National Gallery of Nature in Washington, D.C. and also you will certainly come one-on-one with a life-perishednations. comze reproduction of a the megalodon. At 52 feet, the design is the ordinary perishednations.comze of a women megalodon. In order to reveal the huge teeth, the version is shown with its mouth open. The megalodon was a brand-new enhancement to the West yard of the gallery in Springtime 2019.