One of the world’s most mysterious ancient sea beasts was killed by great white sharks, according to a new study.
And all it took was analyzing the two creatures’ teeth.
Megalodon is often the subject of dodgy science films found on the SyFy channel, but it’s always been a fact that the 65-foot (20-meter) giant shark swam our oceans between 23 million and 3.6 million ago. of years.
But it now appears, thanks to a study led by Kenshu Shimada, a professor at DePaul University in Chicago, that a more modern beast killed it.
Although about three times smaller, the great white shark is now thought to have ended the reign of the megalodon.
Report co-author Prof Shimada said: “These findings likely imply at least some overlap in prey hunted by the two shark species.”
Analysis of zinc levels revealed that they were at the top of the food chain, meaning nothing was eating them.
An international team has generated a database of values on 20 living and prehistoric shark species ranging from aquarium and wild individuals to megalodon.
And its co-author, Professor Michael Griffiths, of William Paterson University, New Jersey, said: “Our results show that Megalodon and its ancestor were indeed apex predators – feeding at the top of their respective food chains. .
“But what was truly remarkable were the zinc isotope values of early Pliocene shark teeth from North Carolina that suggest that the trophic levels of early great white sharks largely overlap with the much larger megalodon.”
Megalodon was already six and a half feet tall at birth – dwarfing most humans. The offspring would have been particularly vulnerable to starvation, especially since great white sharks ate the same things.
Zinc in tooth enamel – the highly mineralized part – revealed the degree of consumption of animal matter.
The results were as reliable as the more established nitrogen examination of collagen – the organic tissue of dentin.
Professor Shimada added that he could not survive in the cold waters of the depths – the only chance to go unnoticed.
He said: “Although further research is needed, our results appear to support the possibility of megalodon food competition with early Pliocene great white sharks.
“Our research illustrates the feasibility of using zinc isotopes to study the diet and ecology of extinct animals over millions of years, a method that can also be applied to other groups of fossil animals – including our own ancestors.”
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