Megalodon: The Thought to be Extinct Shark

Autumn R.

Staff Writer

Imagine being told that an animal thought to be extinct might not be. Picture being told that not only was the animal extinct, but prehistoric, five million years prehistoric to be exact. Now, if that is not enough to boggle the mind, visualize being told that this five million year old, thought to be extinct creature, was a type of shark. This shark is not just any old shark. This shark is believed to be between 65-100 feet with teeth the size of footballs. Bigger than most whales and the most powerful sea creature to ever swim the Earth’s waters, it does not seem possible for such a creature to still exist.

Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week footage began airing Monday, August 5th. Senior Zack Case comments, “I wait all year for this week. I get so excited, and I watch it all week, no other shows.”  The week consisted of footage of several types of sharks, migration patterns, shark attacks, and different sharks catching food in tremendous ways. This various shark footage is the only programming that Discovery Channel plays for the entire week, and millions of people sit down to watch it. However, this Shark Week started off a little different than usual. On Monday, the show consisted of a two-hour episode called “Megalodon.” The word itself just sounds intimidating: Megalodon. Most people have never heard of a creature with such a terrifying name; that is because this particular shark was thought to be extinct.

The Discovery Channel team began the episode by taking viewers back to prehistoric times and describing how this giant 65 to 100-foot creature existed among the waters of the Earth. Throughout the episode, marine biologists explained why they believe that the Megalodon still roams the oceans today. Senior Carolyn Edwards comments, “Sorry, but even with their evidence, I still don’t believe it’s real. It seems iffy.” They began by stating that all of the recent and major tropical storms around the Earth have impacted ocean life.  Thought to be extinct animals have washed up on shore or have been discovered once again due to the storms. The biologists believe that due to the oceans changing so dramatically, this giant shark has returned from the depths of the oceans due to food shortages or climate changes. Recently there have been reported sightings around South Africa’s coast, as well as coasts by India and Japan.

The biologists then proceeded to show different pictures from around the world of possible Megalodon sightings. The first one that they showed was from the first sighting since prehistoric times. It was taken on a Nazi ship during World War II and shows two gigantic fins that are 64 feet apart in length. They then shared a video sent in by a 13 year old boy from South Africa in 2012; the underwater recording reveals two giant fins again a very lengthy width apart. As a final show of evidence, in January 2013 a man on a fishing boat off the coast of Hawaii came up upon a beached whale with its tail bitten cleanly off in one bite. No other creature recorded within the ocean population has ever been known to have enough power to bite a whale’s tail off in one chunk, except the Megalodon.

The marine biologists in the episode then decided to no longer go on leads or to keep searching for the shark themselves. They instead resolved to do an experiment to see if they could bring the prehistoric shark to them. Boarding a giant boat off the south coast of Africa, they and some local fishermen embarked on their journey. They loaded hundreds of gallons of chum, blood, and guts onto the boat to try and lure the creature. They also had a life-size humpback whale made to aid in their search.  If that is not enough, the biologists actually climbed into a metal cage to try and record the action. The chum spread ten miles into the ocean. Senior Maddy Stone comments, “I would have been so scared to be there when they threw all that chum in the water.” The recording estimated around 500 sharks, making it the largest recording of sharks in one place at one time ever in history. Then suddenly the whale impression disappeared, as well as all of the smaller sharks, the cage broke, and all the footage that is saved is of a huge shadow. The biologists were saved, but they refused to talk.

Many people believe the Megalodon could still exist; however, there are some who think that the show was just for entertainment and that there is no way that this creature still exists to this day. People question why the evidence has not been on the news yet, or if all that evidence is just made up. The reasoning and evidential support given by Discovery Channel does seem a little iffy, but some deep questioning does occur when watching this documentary.

So, real or fake? It is up to one’s own personal viewpoint. Whether the Megalodon is real or not, it is always a mystery as to what lurks in the oceans today, as it is said by scientists that the world has only explored about five percent of the waters. Lurking or not, the Megalodon once roamed the waters, and its legend continues to live on today.

Comments

  1. People want physical evidence like a body of one but who goes fishing with a crane and a whale for bait. What we have is Indians in South America carving dinosaurs in rocks that they would have had to see. Carbon dating is what is iffy but it’s all we have at this point. You all know what people do to animals. The only animal that is extinct is because of people. The dinosaur is gone because we ate them and we have no new bones because we like soup. Who doesn’t like a dinoburger it’s not like they could hide. They have a film of a Megalodon Shark swimming with White Sharks and what it proves is not only that they are not extinct but that they must taste like a vegyburger.

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