Shark-feasting megalodon remains fiercest sea monster ever with gigantic teeth

The 20 metre long Otodus megalodon is the deadliest shark to have ever lived, according to a new scientific study.

Megatooth sharks which includes the fearsome megalodon, have long been considered prehistoric rulers of the world's oceans but research into their gnashers claims to confirm it.

Examining thousands of shark teeth has proven the megalodon was the ultimate apex predator, surpassing all else on record as it feasted on other predators.

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The scientists says material found on their giant teeth earned them the highest “trophic level”, otherwise known as top of its food chain as can be possible.

Study first author Dr Emma Kast, also addresses fears and conspiracy theories that the extinct apex predator is still alive and preying on the likes of great white sharks.

The report 'Cenozoic megatooth sharks occupied extremely high trophic positions' was published in thejournal Science Advances, on Wednesday (June 22) and has excited fans of the phenomenal sea monster.

Research from scientists such as those from Princeton University, proved that being the biggest creature lurking underwater really did mean in the megalodon's case, being top dog in the food chain.

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Dr Emma said in a statement: “Megalodon and the other megatooth sharks were genuinely enormous carnivores that ate other predators, and Meg went extinct only a few million years ago.”

As with a third of all large marine animals, the megalodon died out 3.6 million years ago by the end of the Pliocene, when the planet entered a phase of global cooling.

Yet thanks to images such as footage of a large deep sea shark and another scarred shark, it has been debated that the megalodon is very much alive and well but keeping a very, very low profile.

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Danny Sigman, another co-author of the study, however added: “If Megalodon existed in the modern ocean, it would thoroughly change humans’ interaction with the marine environment.”

To determine the megalodon's place in the food chain, scientists looked at the nitrogen in recovered fossil teeth.

The study's introduction reads: "The stable carbon, oxygen, and strontium isotope composition of fossil bones and tooth enamel is used to investigate primary producers in the food web; to distinguish terrestrial, aquatic, and marine habitats; and to reconstruct physiology."

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As far as examining the predator's place in the food chain is concerned, the more nitrogen-15 an organism has, the higher its trophic level, something that had not yet been measured from their fossils.

The study took into account the megalodon's smaller ancestors which evolved towards gigantism.

As a result of the research, scientists say megatooth sharks most likely hunted around the world at the very top of a global marine food chain, which was potentially a few steps longer than anything seen today.

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Emma added: “I’d love to find a museum or other archive with a snapshot of an ecosystem – a collection of different kinds of fossils from one time and place, from forams near the very base of the food web, to otoliths – inner ear bones – from different kinds of fish, to teeth from marine mammals, plus shark teeth.

“We could do the same nitrogen isotope analysis and put together the whole story of an ancient ecosystem."


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