Let’s just clear this up right away - the megalodon shark is extinct. Yes, I know that we haven’t been able to explore every last bit of the ocean, however, if the megalodon was still lurking in the sea there would be evidence. This was a massive, huge, gigantic animal that would need other massive animals to feed on. There would be bodies washed ashore every now and then with bite marks that no other currently living animal could have done. Sharks also shed teeth frequently so we’d be finding them along our shores and they’d be hard to miss as they’re bigger than any other currently living shark species. The website iflscience.com does a fantastic job of explaining the science of why the megalodon is extinct, click here to read it.
So if the megalodon is indeed extinct, how do they do real damage? In a word - fear. Television networks trying to boost ratings present “evidence” of their existence in today’s world to create “documentaries”. These are networks that were previously known for facts about the world of animals. These shows stay in the general public’s mind and gives a reason to fear sharks and therefore, gives “reason” to ignore shark conservation pleas. The fact is that humans kill 100 million sharks every year. Yes, 100 million. If we aren’t careful, all sharks will be extinct and sooner than one would realize.
Yes, my title is clickbait and I am also using the megalodon to get views and, more importantly, to try to increase your understanding of how important sharks are to our global environment and climate. Sharks are apex predators and without them the food web of the ocean would be irreparably damaged as would our climate. When the larger predators don’t eat the smaller ocean dwellers it means that there is more carbon dioxide production. Thankfully, the facts are gaining traction and more studies show that activities like culling sharks may make climate change worse.
When I tell someone that I am deeply passionate about shark conservation I am sometimes met with anger or misinformation. On a previous shark-loving blog post of mine there were reactions trying to ridicule me and give me “the real facts” about sharks. After leaving a comment on a network’s social media page saying that megaldon are extinct a commenter “informed” me that we haven’t explored the whole ocean so we don’t know what’s there. Others on that same thread were convinced that the collective “we” doesn’t know enough about the oceans to say that this shark is definitely extinct. It is. Really.
Of course it would be exciting to find a living megalodon. If that day ever came I would definitely eat my words and apologize profusely. I know I’m safe there. In the meanwhile, like other urban legend creatures (Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, etc.) we’re sure to have more megalodon hype from time to time. I just ask that we please realize the importance of all sharks and work to conserve them before it’s too late.