Did competition for food wipe out Megalodon ?
By T.K. Randall
April 1, 2016 · 7 comments
Megalodon would have even put the movie shark 'Jaws' to shame. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Karen Carr
The largest shark that ever lived may have been driven to extinction by competition from other predators.
Measuring up to 60ft in length, this prehistoric behemoth, which lived up until around 2.6 million years ago, made the great white shark - which is less than a third of its size - look like a minnow.
For 20 million years this gargantuan predator dominated the world's oceans, but then something happened that had such a catastrophic effect on the species that it ended up going extinct.
For years it was believed that megalodon had been wiped out by the effects of climate change, but now scientists at the University of Zurich have highlighted another possibility - that this enormous shark was simply outcompeted for food by other ocean predators.
Evidence from the fossil record has shown a direct correlation between dwindling megalodon numbers and a rise in the number of smaller shark and predatory sea mammal species.
"We were not able to ascertain any direct link between the extinction of C. megalodon and the global fluctuations in temperatures during this time," wrote researcher Catalina Pimiento.
"Changing climatic conditions do not appear to have had any influence on the population density and range of the giant sharks."
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