Recent popular curiosity in the survival of a giant prehistoric shark, known generally under the name Megalodon, has been sparked by a series of popular novels including Robin Brown’s Megalodon, Steve Alten’s Meg, Charles Wilson’s Extinct, and Tom Dade’s Quest for Megalodon. A few cryptozoologists have toyed with the idea that the giant great white shark, Carcharodon megalodon, thought to be extinct, still exists. But these sharks supposedly died out 1.5 million years ago.

There are two radically conflicting views about the Megalodon. Exotic Zoology editor Matt Bille states that the evidence supporting the “Megalodon is alive” school consists of two items. The first is a pair of fossilized teeth, estimated by mineral deposits on them to be only eleven thousand and twenty-four thousand years old, respectively. The second is an assortment of sightings, one of which stands out: the claim by New Zealand lobstermen to have met an all-white shark in 1918; they thought it was one hundred feet long.

On the other hand, Ben S. Roesch, editor of The Cryptozoology Review and a shark specialist, rejects such claims. He says there is no reason to believe that Megalodon is still alive, despite what he calls “overzealous cryptozoologists” think. The only “evidence” for alleged Megalodon survival is some supposedly fresh teeth, which Roesch says are actually fossils and erroneously dated. Only a few alleged sightings are on record, and they are easily explained as arising either from misidentification of known animals or from yarn-spinning.

Roesch contends that proponents of Megalodon survival fail to acknowledge that Megalodon was an inhabitant of coastal near-surface waters, much like the extant great white shark. Megalodon did not dwell in the depths of the sea, as proponents of the survival theory contend. If Megalodon was still alive today, we would see unambiguous evidence of its existence.

Concluding their chapter on Megalodon in Great White Shark, Richard Ellis and John E. McCosker offer this wry observation: “To date, no concrete evidence has surfaced to substantiate the continued existence of these giants. But there will always be those who keep hoping that one will appear. Let us hope we are not in the water when it does.”


The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

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