Monday, August 5, 2013

It's Shark Week

Let's start with Megalodons.
Smithsonian Natural History Museum Washington, DC
I realize I'm sort of copying the Discovery Channels premise that Megalodons could actually still be alive in the earth's warmer oceans.
But it's a thought I personally have had for several years.
Not that I'm any kind of shark expert
or have seen an ominous 60 foot dark shape swimming by my boat
(seriously, if that happened I'd crap my pants if not die of a fatal heart attack right there).
But I did once read a book of fiction written by Steve Alten
called Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror.
The novel was about a diver who sees a Megalodon 
while on a top secret deep sea dive to the Mariana Trench.
He isn't believed so he becomes a paleontologist to try to prove what he saw.
Everyone thinks he's a kook
until he goes on another dive to the trench, is attacked by a male Meg,
has his friend eaten and ends up getting the Meg tangled in some cables.
As he's dragging the male Megalodon to the surface, a female (you saw this coming right?)
attacks the body of the male.
She follows the warm blood of the male up through the "cold water barrier"
(the bottom of the trench is warmed by geothermal ducts, Megs thrive in warm tropical water and the novel claims that the Megs are kept at the bottom of the trench by the cold water zone between the trench and the warmer surface waters).
Of course the female goes on a feeding rampage
eating whales, boats and the protagonist's ex wife. 
The female gives birth, the baby is captured and that's the end of that book.
There are more in the series, but I didn't read them. 
So is this a plausable thing?
Can Megalodon still be alive?
In 1875, 2 Megalodon teeth were dredged up during the expedition of the HMS Challenger.
They were dated as only 10,000-15,000 years old-
meaning their extinction (if it happened) happened within the age of modern man.
In 1918- several fisherman in Australia refused to work after a giant shark destroyed their gear and age their catch.
These men were experienced fishermen, familiar with the areas sharks and whales.
So what scared them so bad they refused to return to the water?
Recently, the History Channel's MonterQuest team 
went in search of a monster shark in the Sea of Cortez. 
It's been reported a large shark is decimating the marine mammal population.
While they didn't see a Megalodon,
many believe that it's the perfect area for one to thrive in.

Is it really possible they could still be alive today?
Who really knows, but some points to ponder:
We've only recently begun to see photos and video of the Giant Squid.
The Megamouth shark was only discovered in 1975
and the coelacanth was thought to have gone extinct 65 million years ago until one was caught in 1938.
This is known as the Lazarus Taxon which is when a species is  thought
 to have gone extinct but is eventually found alive. 
This typically happens when there's just a small population of the animal/fish
and locals are familiar with it but scientists haven't bothered to officially identify it.
There have been many reports of a giant shark.


  1. Maybe it was really a Megaladon instead of a sting ray that Capt. John Smith wrestled off the coast of Deltaville. Sting Ray Point or Megaladon Point? You never know...