Actually, the great white tops out around 20 feet long; but CNN didn’t know that.
CNN also goes on about “rare fossil remains of its teeth.” They got that wrong, too. Those fossils are not rare. In fact, you can buy them online. “Sharktooth Hill,” near Bakersfield, California, is famous for yielding lots of fossil Megalodon teeth. A friend of mine had one, years ago. And yes, it was as big as your hand.
I don’t know why people who write about sharks are so fond of exaggerating their size. Like, a 20-foot shark is chopped liver? Last I looked, the world-record great white shark caught on hook and line was 16 feet long. But 20 or 30 feet long makes a better story, somehow.
We can be thankful that this bruiser is extinct, except in monster movies. We’ve got enough real monsters to worry about.
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.
Hi, Mr. Nature here, pleading ignorance–’cause I don’t know how long sharks live in the wild and I’m not sure how you’d find out.
Some sharks do well in captivity, but some don’t. It’s not a natural environment, no matter how large the aquarium. They say the humble spiny dogfish has a lifespan of 100 years or more (http://www.sharks-world.com/how_long_do_sharks_live/). They think the Great White tops out at 30 or 40, based on counting growth rings in shark vertebrae. But I don’t know how reliable that method of calculation can be, given the small number of actual specimens in the sample.
How many fish in the sea die of natural causes? I would guess, not many. There’s always a bigger, faster fish looking to eat you, parasites galore, and storms that can wash you up on land: all sorts of hazards. Who can observe the whole life of a fish? Pet goldfish, if you aren’t careful about how you take care of them, die in a year or so. But if you know what you’re doing, they can live 20 or 30 years. But who knows what happens to a fish in the wild, throughout its life?
This is nature, this is God’s stuff–an inexhaustible supply of fascination: and a reminder that no, we certainly do not know everything.
Hi, Mr. Nature here. I’ve just been watching that Mosasaurus scene from Jurassic World, and it has me in stitches.
Mosasaurs were lizards, related to monitor lizards, that lived in the sea long ago. There were many species of them, found here and there and everywhere. I once dug up a nice Mosasaur tooth right here in New Jersey.
The premise of this movie is that people even get bored with live dinosaurs, after a while, so Science has to somehow give them bigger and better dinosaurs. By “better” they mean scarier and more dangerous. So they use cloning and genetic engineering to create this terrible monster…
Well, fry my hide, they’ve already got this Mosasaurus! Here they are, feeding it a great white shark. Might as well give it something that’s not at all easy to come by. An adult great white shark is anywhere from 12 to 20 feet long, but it looks like a sardine compared to the Mosasaur. That would make the Mosasaur… oh, better than 100 feet long. Bigger than a blue whale. And they’ve got it in an aquarium.
I’m sorry, but that’s funny! I mean, it’s a fun movie, I enjoyed it no end–but reality it’s not.
Christians, never forget, never forget, that in our popular culture, that we live in, science and fantasy and pure humbug are tangled together worse than the hideous snarl of wires behind my computer. Feel free to enjoy the entertainment value–but make very sure you’re never taken in by it. If you want absolute truth, you have to go to God’s word for that.
Don’t let your fun be the enemy of your integrity.