During the Miocene epoch, somewhere around 20 million years ago, a prehistoric giant shark, with teeth that were almost 2 inches long is believed to have once swam in the waters of the Atlantic ocean and of the Pacific.
The newly-discovered prehistoric giant was named Megalolamna paradoxodon and was categorized, based on its teeth, in the shark family Otodontidae who is best known for one of its members, the megalodon, or the ancient ocean’s most feared swimmer with its large dimensions in length and with its 7 inches long teeth.
The Megalolamna paradoxodon received its name based on two of its most interesting features. The “Megalolamna” categorization was determined by the same dental structure which first helped scientists classify it, as it is a characteristic of both the ancient shark’s otodontid link and of the salmon shark, a member of the Lamna genus, one of the species that currently swim in our waters.
The “paradoxon” particle, also determined by its paradoxical teeth was chosen when scientists took into consideration the as yet unknown 45 million years pause between the surfacing of the Megalolamna and its closest relative, the Otodus.
Although there are still quite a number of things to find out about it, scientists have been able to create a profile of this prehistoric giant shark as an analysis of their dentures revealed both the area they inhabited and their preferred meals. The front’s teeth grasping-type structure paired with their cutting-type rear teeth points to their preference for hunting large prey, or more general, for feeding on medium-sized fish.
The areas in which the teeth were found reveals their preference for shallow waters and coastal environments, and also places them in the same waters that in ancient times used to be inhabited by mega toothed sharks.
Although smaller than the megalodon and the other already discovered members of their family, the prehistoric giant shark Megalolamna can be regarded as quite a stunning specimen as its size of about 13 feet in length is a short throw away from the great white shark, our modern-day’s best-known and feared swimmer.
The widespread area in which the teeth were found, from the coastlines of Japan, Peru to various U.S. states such as California and North Carolina show us how little we yet know about the history of our planet and its early inhabitants and that we still have a lot to find out about the evolution of our modern-day species.
Image Source: Wikimedia