Hello, my name is Connor Lerwill, I am a student at Brigshaw High School, and I am writing this blog post because of my fascination with the megalodon. A megalodon is a species of shark that lived in our oceans around 20 million years ago. It is now extinct.
When it was alive, what did it eat and where did it live?
20 million years ago the megalodon lived in oceans all around the world. It lived in almost every ocean except for the poles. The megalodon weighed nearly 46,000 kilograms (around seven and a half elephants) and could grow to a maximum of 18 metres long (about four cars). A megalodon’s tooth was around 15 cm long. The megalodon’s diet consisted of whales, large fish and other sharks.
What are their modern day descendants?
Descendants are the next generation (or many generations) of a living thing. The closest descendant of the megalodon is the mako shark which lives in oceans around Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean ocean. A mako shark’s diet includes tuna, swordfish, marine mammals and other sharks. Makos can reach up to 4.5 metres long.
More about their amazing teeth
A megalodon tooth is made of dentin, a very hard substance that we have in our teeth underneath the enamel. A megalodon had a bite force of between 108,514 and 182,201 newtons (a t-rex had around 35,000 newtons). Like all modern sharks, megalodons relied on their bite strength. This could be damaging to their teeth and their teeth would break off and then re-grow. This is why megalodon teeth fossils are so common, like the one in the Leeds Museums and Galleries collection below. The megalodon got its name from the Greeks. Its name means giant tooth.
By Connor Lerwill, work experience student at Leeds Museums and Galleries