Coelacanth thought to be extinct 65 million years ago is still around, giant squid, still around, Megamouth Shark discovered..and many others, if not live specimen or washed up carcass, there are sightings...the big deep ocean is so full of mystery. Some say this monster is estimated to be up to 50 feet in length, some say closer to 80 feet and others up to 100 feet or more. Whatever is the case, The Carcharodon Megalodon is possibly the biggest predator ever to exist next to the Sperm Whale. But the question that some ask today...could this monstrous Megalodon still be around swimming in the deep ocean..waiting to be discovered? There are quite a number of eyewitness said to have sighted what to have believed to be the extinct Carcharodon Megalodon once lived between 5 million and 1.6 million years ago. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- One Of The Sightings: Great white shark expert Great white shark experts Richard Ellis and John McCosker have included a rather compelling chapter on Megalodon in his definitive 1991 volume, Great White Shark. Ellis (who authored the chapter on Megalodon), notes that although all the fossilized Megalodon teeth found so far indicate that the shark is extinct, we should really get concerned about the welfare of our divers if someone ever dredges up a white Megalodon tooth. Because if we did, "we would know that the giant shark became extinct quite recently," writes Ellis, "or is flourishing somewhere in the vastness of the oceans and has simply lost a tooth." As frightening as a notion like that may seem for anyone who doesn't live in central Nebraska, could it ever happen? Almost all who have investigated the possible existence of the great Megalodon realize that if it is extinct, it has only recently occured in the geological record. The creature lived as long ago as 50 million years (Middle and Late Tertiary Period), but Ellis confirms that scientists have concluded Megalodon probably "just" became extinct, in the late Pleistocene or early Holocene epochs. In other words, as close as 10,000 years ago! Pretty scary stuff, Mr. Cousteau. Zoological history has proven that very large animals can remain hidden from modern science, especially in our planet's under-explored ocean depths. So if the famous coelacanth can remain undisturbed for 60 million years, why not push our giant white shark up a mere 10,000? Apparently Ellis sees no major problem with that when he writes, "Except that we have not found one, there appears to be no reason why Megalodon should not be flourishing today." Granted, Ellis feels that no concrete evidence has been found for Megalodon's current existence. "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." Or has one already appeared? Contained in Ellis's chapter on Megalodon is quite an amazing sighting report from Australia. It is taken from David G. Stead's Sharks and Rays of Australian Seas, published in 1963. Here is the now-classic monster encounter, in Stead's words: In the year 1918 I recorded the sensation that had been caused among the "outside" crayfish men at Port Stephens, when, for several days, they refused to go to sea to their regular fishing grounds in the vicinity of Broughton Island. 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, and taking, as the 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 good-sized 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 swam 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 long as the roof on the wharf shed at Nelson's Bay." Impossible, of course! But these were prosaic and rather stolid men, not given to 'fish stories' nor even to talking about their catches. Further, they knew that the person they were talking to (myself) had heard all the fish stories years before! One of the things that impressed me was that they all agreed as to the ghostly whitish color of the vast fish."(3) In this popular account, we apparently have credible witnesses, and a knowledgeable investigator, Stead, who believed the fishermen were telling the truth (and that they may have witnessed a living Megalodon). I believe the "fact" that they did not return to sea for days could be added to their credibility, and to their loss in wages after the apparently traumatic experience (unless they were hoaxing the entire event, of course.) We also have some rather strange features in this report, including the tremendous lengths the fishermen reported, if we cannot attribute these to exaggeration due to intense fear. If we cannot, then it seems if Megalodon has survived, it may have grown bigger, and I am not sure which idea is scarier. In his 1989 book There Are Giants in the Sea, BBC film producer and wildlife author Michael Bright concludes his sea-monster volume with mention of the giant fish: Imagine, then, the shock when scientists dredging the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, earlier this century, discovered two 10 cm. (4 in.) long megalodon teeth that were what can only be described as geologically "fresh." One was estimated to be 24,000 years old--roughly the time of the Lascaux cave paintings. The other was just 11,000 years old and therefore belonged to a gigantic shark that swam in the Pacific Ocean at the same time as man was migrating from Asia into North America. Could this enormous predator still be lurking in the ocean depths?(4) I suppose we'll have to see what the oceans of the world turn up for the monster hunters to hold triumphantly over the heads of skeptics. But how exciting it would be if a 70-foot shark was deposited on the shores of California, surrounded by excited vacationers with video cameras in tow. Putting child-like dreaming aside, however, leaves us with the fact that whether or not the huge Megalodon is alive today is debatable only on theoretical grounds. Despite thousands of giant, still fossilized teeth, no matter how "fresh" they might be, and the amazing (perhaps exaggerated) report from Stead, there is not much to go on.(5) However, if some shark experts can agree not to completely write off "Meg" into extinction, then we might want to ponder the possibility that Peter Benchley's imagination is not as wild as we thought it was. And we will never go deep-sea fishing in anything smaller than an aircraft carrier ever again. Actually, you can think about all that. I'll keep chiseling for more replica teeth.