According to a new study, the megalodon, the largest marine predator to ever live, had gone extinct due to its body temperature. The shark, as the ocean cooled, was forced to live in the warmer, lower latitudes. On the contrary, its prey evolved to withstand the cold temperature.
The megalodon had a length of 60 feet. According to a recent study, the reason for its size was oophagy – a kind of intrauterine cannibalistic behavior. The research suggests that the megalodon ate their undeveloped offsprings while still developing during pregnancy.
“The gigantism of O. megalodon is attributed to the evolution of regional endothermy, possibly along with the inferred live-bearing reproductive mode involving intrauterine cannibalism in the form of oophagy,” researchers wrote in the study. “Yet, exactly how O. megalodon developed throughout its lifetime has remained largely in the realm of speculations.”
In September, the true size of Megalodons’ bodies was determined by researchers. With the size of 52.5 feet and 15.3 feet long head and a dorsal fin 5.3 feet all and a tail of 12.6 feet, it was the largest marine predator to ever live.
Led by Kinshu Shimada, a group of scientists used numerous techniques ranging from CT scan to multiple x-rays to reconstruct the fossils and to get the idea of dimensions of Megalodons’ body.
“As one of the largest carnivores that ever existed on Earth, the evolution and extinction of O. megalodon must have contributed to shaping the present-day marine ecosystem,” the researchers added. “Hence, deciphering such growth parameters of O. megalodon is critical to understand the role large carnivores play in the context of ecology and evolution.”
The team found that with a life expectancy of 88 years, they grew 6.3 feet annually and could live up to 100 years.
The Great White Shark, much smaller and agile, may have been the reason for the Megalodon’s extinction. In the Pliocene era, megalodons preferred to eat whales, but the whales of the time adapted to the change in temperature whereas the Megalodons were not able to.
During the Pleistocene extinction event, many animals larger than 80 pounds went extinct, according to the Illinois State Museum. At roughly 50 feet in length and a weight approaching 120,000 pounds, megalodons would have been a prime candidate to be affected by the cosmic blast.
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ARTICLE: EJAZ SHAIKH
SCIENCE/HEALTH EDITOR: KYLE SMITH
PHOTO CREDITS: MANZIL NEWS