Think Tyrannosaurus rex was the ultimate predator? Think again.
Carcharocles megalodon, a.k.a. Megalodon, was "probably the apex predator of all time," according to paleontologist Chuck Ciampaglio. The Wright State University professor spoke to the Discovery Channel recently about Megalodon, a long-extinct prehistoric shark whose name literally translates as "big tooth."
In the video, Ciampaglio shows the Sharktooth Hill formation in Bakersfield, Calif., which would have been Megalodon's hunting ground more than 2 million years ago. Ciampaglio likens the area to Chesapeake Bay -- full of sharks, marine mammals and fish. However, unlike the Maryland-Virginia bay, the shallow sea was home to much larger predators.
Not much is known about the 50-plus-foot shark that once ruled the seas for 25 million years, as just about all that remains of it are its fossilized 7-inch-teeth. But paleontologists are convinced Megalodon would have been above the T. rex on the food chain.
"T. rex wouldn't have a chance against this thing," Ciampaglio told the Discovery Channel. "T. rex's head would fit in this guy's mouth."
Hear what else Ciampaglio said about Megalodon in the video above and see more photos of (living) sharks in the gallery below.
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The hornless rhinoceros-like creatures of this genus were the largest land mammals of all time.
Giant ground sloths of this genus were about the size of today's elephants. The megatherium only went extinct around 10,000 years ago (right around the time when humans started farming), and smaller relatives may have survived as late as the 16th century!
Richard Owen, director of London's Museum of Natural History, stands next to the largest of all moa. Moa, which originated in New Zealand, were flightless, and some were even wingless.
The Argentavis magnificens, an early relative of the Andean Condor, was the largest flying bird ever discovered.
These creatures, the largest marsupials that ever lived, roamed Australia. Some scientists have suggested that stories of the supernatural 'bunyip' creature in Aboriginal folklore could be based on diprotodonts.
These distant relatives of modern elephants had an imposing appearance, with strange, downward-curving tusks and heights of up to 16 feet at the shoulder.
Leedsichthys problematicus & Liopleurodon rossicus
The fearsome Liopleuredon, right, had a jaw nearly ten feet long. The Leedsichthys, left, was a bony fish that may have been even larger than it looked; some estimates put its maximum length at 53 feet. <strong>Correction</strong>: <em>An earlier version of this slide had the positions of the Liopleuredon and Leedsichthys reversed</em>.