The great white is a species of large mackerel mackerel that can be found on the coastal surface of all major oceans. It is known for its stunning size, with some growing up to 20 feet long – but most are much smaller, with women averaging about 15 to 16 feet and men tending to be between 11 and 13 feet. But these huge creatures are a drop in the ocean compared to the huge Megalodon that once roamed the seas.
Significance “big tooth” scientists believe that the extinct species flourished about 23 million years ago, during the early Miocene to the Pliocene era, before disappearing about four and a half million years ago.
The similarities between the physical remains and the large size of both the great white and the megalodon led many scientists to believe that these sharks were closely related, but a new analysis of the ancient hippos added new context to their relationship.
Paleontologist Robert Bossenecker was working on the beaches of Santa Cruz, California, when he discovered an ancient tooth, “as big as they come,”
The rare find came from an ancient Megalodon and it would take a decade to find out exactly how these ancient beasts disappeared.
Scientists are finding out more about the connection between great whites and megalodons
The megalodon is a huge extinct shark
In 2019, he finally got his answer.
The megalodon disappeared about 3.6 million years ago, about a million years earlier than previously estimated.
The new date, published on February 12, 2019 in PeerJ magazine, coincides with the rise of the modern great white shark, hinting that this shake in the maritime hierarchy may have caused confusion for Meg.
To solve the mystery, Dr. Boessenecker and his colleagues began searching for more traces of Megalodon in California, documenting their findings from the West Coast.
They quickly expanded their search to other regions to look more broadly at Meg’s death.
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Researchers have found evidence of an ancient predator
The specimens used were not only those found by researchers, but also fossils of published literature and freshly examined discoveries in museum collections.
In 2014, Catalina Pimiento of the University of Florida and Christopher Clements of the University of Zurich published their analysis of Megalodon’s disappearance using available records.
This team concluded that these creatures may have remained in the oceans until about 2.6 million years ago.
For their study, Dr. Boessenecker and his colleagues combined their findings with data from the 2014 study.
The results showed that Megalodon disappeared 3.6 million years ago, with error limits that mean the date could be as young as 3.2 million years ago, and perhaps as old as 4.1 million. years.
Tom Demer, curator of paleontology at the Natural History Museum in San Diego, says: “This is much more plausible and solidly supported by the data.”
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Great white sharks may be to blame
Now researchers are marking great whites
A more accurate reading of Megalodon’s death is vital to understanding the forces driving their disappearance.
Past theories have often been linked to a wider marine extinction that occurred at the end of the Pliocene epoch about 2.6 million years ago.
Dr. Boessenecker believes the new dates coincide with the global spread of the creature’s smaller but still furious relative, the great white shark, which made its global debut about four million years ago.
Although there were other changes during this window that could affect Megalodon, he believes that the great white has disrupted the natural food chain.
Now experts are also afraid of the big whites.
It is said that the Atlantic Ocean could suffer an ecological collapse with the extinction of top predators.
Sharks will help you explain the ecosystem more
Scientists fear that even the great whites may disappear
California’s underwater forests have almost shrunk after an explosion in hedgehogs that eat algae, and this is due to a decline in sea otters that eat hedgehogs.
This threatens the area’s natural food chain, which can completely break down if large whites have no source of prey.
Brian Franks, a doctoral professor at the University of Jacksonville, said in 2019: “I can say for sure that you will lose stability, but there are so many factors that it is difficult to predict.
“Their prey will increase, then this third-level species will be exhausted, but it is difficult to model.
“The classic examples are otters, hedgehogs and algae.”
OCEARCH is a non-profit organization with a mission to catch great whites, pick them up and track their movements to find out more about this species, which is “vulnerable to extinction”.
By marking 33 sharks during 31 expeditions, the researchers determined that northwestern Atlantic white sharks mate in at least two places – near Nova Scotia, Canada and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
They give birth near Long Island, New York, and head to warmer waters in the winter.
The bigger they are, the further south they go.
Using DNA and tracking information, the scientists hope to map the entire global family tree one day.
But so far they don’t know how many great white sharks there are in the Northwest Atlantic, but I guess it’s about 1,000 people.