Recently, a new study conducted by University of Florida researchers dismisses the claims that Megalodon is still alive by revealing that this 60-foot long shark became extinct about 2.6 million years ago.
The study counters other theories stating that Carcharocles Megalodon became wiped out much later along with some stating that the monster shark never extinct. Catalina Pimiento, lead author of the study said, “I was pinched to the study of Carcharocles Megalodon’s extinction because it is fundamental to know when species became extinct in order to be aware of the causes and consequences of such an event.”
“This study might also help other scientists to better understand the potential widespread effects of losing the planet’s top predators,” he added.
The study represented the first phase of Pimiento’s ongoing reconstruction of Megalodon’s extinction. Because of the current biodiversity crisis, the modern top predators, particularly large sharks are significantly declining worldwide. The study acts as a basis to better understand the consequences of these changes, Pimiento added.
“When you confiscate large sharks, then small sharks are very abundant and they consume more of the invertebrates that we humans eat. The findings of the study show that large-bodied, shallow-water species of sharks are at greatest risk among marine animals, and the overall risk of shark extinction is substantially higher than for most other vertebrates,” Pimiento said.
“When we started measuring the Megalodon’s time of extinction, we observed that the modern function and gigantic sizes of filter feeder whales became established at that time. Further investigation will be done in order to find out if Megalodon’s extinction played a part in the evolution of these new classes of whales,” he added.
It took almost 6 years to unravel the details of Megalodon’s extinction, including ongoing analysis of Megalodon’s body size, Pimiento said. The study reveals that Panama served as a nursery habitat for the species.
Jorge Velez-Juarbe, a paleontologist with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County stated, “The study will not only serve as a key reference for exposing the myth that Megalodon still exists, but its new methods will influence the future of scientific research of extinct animals and plants.
Pimiento is further planning to inspect possible correlations between changes in the Megalodon’s distribution and the evolutionary trends of marine animals including whales and other sharks.
The study has been published in the recent issue of PLOS ONE journal.