The Big Fish
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Scientists recently discovered that the monstrous Megalodon shark possibly died millions of years ago because of competition with the great whites, New Scientist reported.
Measuring nearly 50 feet in length and packing palm-sized teeth, the Megalodon had a big appetite while it terrorized the world’s oceans millions of years ago.
During these times, the smaller – albeit still big – great white sharks competed with the megalodon in hunting small whales, sea lions and seals.
This has led many researchers to wonder whether a prehistoric food fight resulted in the mysterious demise of the ancient sea monster.
In their paper, a research team studied the individual teeth of a number of modern and ancient sharks, including the Megalodon. They analyzed the levels of zinc in the chompers, marking the first time scientists have used zinc isotope analysis on shark teeth.
Zinc is important for animal life and mostly comes from diet.
The findings showed that the zinc isotope ratio in the Megalodon’s sample nearly matched that of the ancient great whites: The team noted that both species had low levels of zinc and suggested that the two creatures most likely shared a comparable apex predator status about five million years ago.
While there could be other reasons for the creature’s extinction, the authors were elated to see that their study offers more evidence that competition for food with great whites was a factor.
The bigger fish doesn’t always win.