Now That’s Scary!

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Jambo, Mr. Nature here; and today’s safari takes us back in time and under the water for an encounter with the biggest, scariest shark that ever lived: Carcharodon megalodon–“Megalodon” for short.

The only fossils we have of this creature are its teeth. In the picture above, the white tooth is from a modern great white shark, a la Jaws. The black tooth belonged to a Megalodon. Except for the size, they’re virtually identical. Both are classified as belonging to the genus Carcharodon. So we can imagine Megalodon as a prehistoric great white shark two or three times the size of today’s 16 to 20-foot monsters.

I didn’t opt for a Youtube video because there’s so much sensationalism loaded onto Megalodon, it’s hard to get any videos that haven’t succumbed to the temptation to exaggerate. Why you would need to exaggerate the lethal potential of a 40 or 50-foot white shark is a mystery to me.

Megalodon is extinct, which is good news for anyone who wants to go to sea. Oh, there are always rumors that maybe it is not extinct, maybe a few of them survive in the deepest waters of the ocean where we can’t see them. Down there in the dark, eating whales and giant squid–anything else would probably be just a snack.

We may wonder why God ever created such a fish. Well, He had His reasons: we just don’t know them. Whatever those reasons, these gigantic teeth that still remain can leave us in awe of their Creator.

And remind us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

‘A True Monster Story (Maybe)’ (2015)

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Try as I might, I still don’t know what to make of this shark story from Australia–which is where all the very best shark stories seem to come from.

It does seem rather unlikely that a bunch of fishermen would ever tell a story like this to a government official who could make life very hard for them if he ever decided they were just pulling his leg.

But a shark like–like that? No, it simply can’t be true. Unless it is.

A True Monster Story (Maybe)

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These fossil shark jaws just might have been big enough to fit the creature described below.

Once again we go Down Under, via Richard Ellis’ The Book of Sharks, for what has got to be the all-time whopper of a shark story (pages 75-76).

But this one might be true. Here it is, as published:

“The men had been at work on the fishing grounds which lie in deep water–when an immense shark of almost unbelievable proportions put in an appearance, lifting pot after pot containing many crayfishes [lobsters], and taking in, as these men said, ‘pots, mooring lines and all.’ These crayfish pots, it should be mentioned, were about 3 feet 6 inches in diameter, and frequently contained from two to three dozen crayfish, each weighing several pounds. The men were all unanimous that this shark was something the like of which they had never dreamed of. In company with the local Fisheries Inspector I questioned many of the men very closely and they all agreed as to the gigantic stature of the beast. But the lengths they gave were, on the whole, absurd. I mention them, however, as an indication of the state of mind which this unusual giant had thrown them into. And bear in mind that these were men who were used to the sea and all sorts of weather, and all sorts of sharks as well. One of the crew said the shark was ‘three hundred feet long, at least!’ Others said it was as long as the wharf on which we stood–about 115 feet! They affirmed that the water ‘boiled’ over a large space when the fish went past. They were all familiar with whales, which they had often seen passing at sea, but this was a vast shark. They had seen its terrible head which was ‘at least as large as the roof of the wharf shed at Nelson’s Bay.’ One of the things that impressed me was that they all agreed as to the ghostly whitish color of the fish.”


What are we to make of this story? We know there’s no such thing as a shark 115 to 300 feet long, don’t we? So why did these men say they saw one?

Could they have been lying? Yes.

Or might they have seen a shark so abnormally, unnaturally large that the sight of it reduced them to near-hysteria?

That’s what I think happened. But how big would a shark have to be, to freak out these fishermen and make them tell such a crazy story–and to a fisheries inspector, no less?

You don’t need a fantasy writer to tell you there’s some mighty funny stuff that goes on in this world.