Monday, April 04, 2016

Megalodon Went Extinct due to Competition and Prey Scarcity

It lived millions of years ago and was three times as large as the great white shark: the megalodon. So far its extinction has been explained with the onset of an ice age. However, researchers at the University of Zurich have now come to the conclusion that responsibility for the decline of the monster shark lays not with the climate, but with other species.

Is there anyone out there who doesn't know Jaws, the film about the great white shark and the devastation it wreaked? But there have been even bigger and more dangerous sharks in the past: The largest shark in the history of the planet, Carcharocles megalodon, lived between 23 million and 2.6 million years ago, reaching body lengths of up to 18 meters and probably feeding on marine mammals. Then it became extinct. In the past, climate changes have generally been blamed for its disappearance. Now, for the first time, researchers from the University of Zurich have examined the geographical distribution of the megalodon over time and arrived at the following conclusion: The giant shark became extinct because the diversity of its prey decreased and new predators appeared as competitors.

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