When it swam alongside their vessel, they could see that in total length it equalled that of the boat. After a few moments, it veered to the west, swimming underneath their boat before disappearing they actually felt the boat rise as it swam beneath it. Might it be a melanistic great white a huge great white that was fairly dark dorsally and measured almost 20 ft long was hauled up out of the Sea of Cortez by commercial fishermen in April , and parts of this sea are now known to serve as a great white shark nursery , or could it be something very different indeed?
Many ichthyologists are willing to consider the possibility that there are larger specimens of great white shark in existence than have so far been verified by science, but some cryptozoologists are far bolder.
Their explanation for the Lord of the Deep is far more spectacular — a terrifying prehistoric resurrection, featuring a living leviathan from the ancient waters. The great white shark once had an even bigger relative — the megalodon or megatooth shark C.
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Named after its huge teeth, which were triangular in shape, up to 7. However, after various extra-large megalodon teeth, some almost 6 in long, were unearthed a while ago at the aptly-dubbed Sharktooth Hill near Bakersfield, California, ichthyologists conceded that certain specimens might have attained a total length of up to 55 ft.
The megalodon is presently known almost entirely from its huge teeth and some individual vertebrae. However, one notable exception is an associated vertebral column of approximately individual centra vertebra bodies that range in state from fragmentary to nearly complete. In the major monograph Great White Sharks: The Biology of Carcharodon carcharias , edited by Drs A. Peter Klimley and David G. Ainley, shark experts Drs Michael D. Moreover, it is believed that the fins of the megalodon were proportional to its larger size, and hence were bigger than those of the great white.
Could this therefore explain the huge pectoral fins sported by the giant mystery shark sighted by Zane Grey? Once believed to be an exclusively near-surface, continental shelf dweller in tropical and subtropical seas, the megalodon is now thought to have been sufficiently adaptable to have inhabited a wide range of environments, from shallow coastal waters and swampy coastal lagoons to sandy littorals and offshore deepwater abodes, exhibiting a transient lifestyle, and of near-cosmopolitan geographical distribution.
Adult specimens, however, were not common in shallow-water habitats thus explaining the relative rarity of modern-day Lord of the Deep and other super-sized great white lookalike sightings? The megalodon first appeared in the fossil record around 16 million years ago during the mid-Miocene, and was undoubtedly one of the most formidable marine predators of all time.
So why, according to mainstream zoology, did it become extinct if, indeed, it did! As yet, there is no definitive answer to this key question. Yet in view of how adaptable the megalodon was in terms of the variety of marine environments that it could inhabit, might it have once again been sufficiently adaptable to withstand these changes?
True, the fossil record does not contain ample evidence of its survival in regions where water temperatures had significantly declined during the Pliocene. Then again, as pointed out by Gottfried et al. And what if, like the huge carnivorous sperm whale, it also sought out sizeable deepwater species such as giant squids, common in tropical as well as temperate seas, but for which, as is often true from deepwater habitats, there would be little if any readily available confirmation from the fossil record?
After all, even large migratory whales like the blue whale and grey whale still spend part of their year in sub-tropical waters; and during those periods that these cetaceans spend in more polar zones, megalodons could subsist instead upon big fishes like the basking shark, whale shark, and abundant smaller species existing in sizeable shoals, plus giant squids.
Irrespective of the precise reason s why it died out, the findings of a study by American researchers Drs Catalina Pimiento and Christopher F.
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However, these dates fail to take into account a dramatic, highly controversial revelation that occurred at the close of the s. Back in , the British oceanographic survey vessel H. Challenger had hauled up two megalodon teeth from the manganese dioxide-rich red clay deposit at a depth of 14, ft on the sea bed south of Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean.
When, in , these teeth were dated by Russian scientist Dr Wladimir Tschernezky, the scientific world received a considerable shock. Knowing the rate of formation of the manganese dioxide layer covering them, he had measured the thickness of the layer — and from the results that he had obtained, he announced in a paper published on 24 October in the prestigious scientific journal Nature that one of the teeth was only 24, years old, and the other was a mere 11, years old.
And if this is true, it would again lend credibility to speculation among some cryptozoologists that this incredible species may still be alive today. It is nothing if not intriguing, incidentally, that these two enigmatic teeth were obtained in much the same Tahitian locality as that of the giant sharks respectively encountered by the Greys. The main argument against them is that the teeth may have originally been reworked from older strata, as has been discussed earlier in this present book with respect to various alleged post-Mesozoic dinosaur and plesiosaur fossils.
Also, there can be considerable variation in results obtained for the dating of manganese dioxide deposits, depending upon whether maximum or minimum deposition rates for them are being used, and such deposits also vary in relation to a number of fluctuating external factors such as the concentration in seawater of iron ions and photosynthesising plankton. Whether such variations can be so extreme as to yield a date as recent as only 11, years ago as opposed to one of at least 2. Also worthy of note here is the following statement from the earlier-cited paper by Pimiento and Clements: In a very small proportion of simulations 1.
Enormous fossilized shark teeth found in North Carolina
In six simulations 0. In short, although too small in number to be considered statistically significant, from the vast array of fossil samples utilised in their simulations a few modern-day inferred extinction dates did occur, as well as some with an inferred extinction date of under , years. How can these be explained and which specific samples were responsible, I wonder? All in all, if they still exist it would be very interesting to see those two teeth that were dated so contentiously by Tschernezky back in the late s subjected now to modern-day dating techniques.
However, a more recent and potentially much more useful technique, which has already been proved to be effective with fossil teeth, is electron paramagnetic resonance EPR. One final comment regarding giant, ostensibly anachronistic shark teeth: Fossil megalodon teeth are generally black or grey, less commonly brown and even gold, but white specimens are also known — and although they too are fossilised, these latter ones can look deceptively recent in appearance, so Whitley may have been mistaken. As for the teeth noted by him, sadly I have no knowledge of where they currently reside.
Here they could readily avoid the occasional cruiser or other sizeable sea vessel crossing the immense mid-ocean stretches of water upon which the various Pacific island groups are scattered like mere confetti, and only occasionally approach the shores of such islands where they may conceivably attract brief attention before travelling back out to the open seas once more.
We know that in Pliocene times megalodons occurred in coastal waters albeit only rarely as adults , because the fossil record tells us so. But what if megalodons also lived in mid-oceanic stretches where any dead specimens either were consumed by other marine carnivores or became fossilised in locations where such remains can never be uncovered, such as the sea bottom — except, possibly, for a few anachronistic teeth dredged up by a research vessel?
And even if such a creature is spied once in a while when far out to sea, by some ocean-going tourists or bold fishermen venturing further out than usual from their coastal zone, what will they see? Who would think to report that as anything special? However, one could also argue that if the megalodon has indeed survived into the modern day, why was it not reported by whalers during the whaling age? Great white sharks were frequently attracted to harpooned, massively-bleeding whales, sometimes causing problems for whalers trying to land these huge, dying sea mammals or their carcases. How much greater a problem, therefore, would megalodons have posed?
Yet I am not aware of any whaling records describing encounters with sharks that might have been megalodons. As for smaller, juvenile megalodons, surely these would be hooked or entangled in netting from time to time, just like similar-sized adult great whites are? Yet again, however, there do not appear to be records of this, unless any such juveniles that may have been caught looked similar enough to adult great whites for anglers not to have considered them worthy of being brought to zoological attention? Then again, any whale surviving a megalodon attack would need to be very big indeed, and such individuals probably remain far out of sight in the open oceans, and those not surviving such an attack would be devoured by the victorious megalodon, with any remains simply sinking to the ocean floor.
Yet another anomaly if the megalodon is indeed still alive today is why no modern-day megalodon teeth have ever been found, bearing in mind that sharks shed numerous teeth every year, and that assemblages of shark teeth from other species have been procured from the sea floor. Then again, perhaps some modern megalodon teeth have been obtained, but, in view of how sought-after their fossil equivalents are by collectors and expensive too! Having said all of this, there is a notable modern-day precedent for large sharks remaining hidden from science.
Sometimes pictures of fossils are even painted on plan rock slab, and lack the distinct anatomical detail that a magnifying glass will throw up in a real fossil.
Faking it? | The Fossil Collector
A skilled eye will notice when they are carved into the wrong rock types or represent erroneous anatomical detail. Plastics are also used to create fake amber. Acetone will dissolve copal, not true amber.
Under UV light, amber emits a blue glow, while copal will not exhibit any change. Amber will float in water, while many plastics will sink. When cut, amber fractures but plastics can be easily shaved. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.
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Notify me of new comments via email. Enter your email address to subscribe to The Fossil Collector and receive email notifications from The Fossil Collector on the latest postings, news, and events relating to fossil collecting in Singapore. Posted on November 15, by chuyeeming. First, we need to recognise that there are different types of fakes: This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged amber , archaeoraptor , keichousaurs , megaloldon , trilobite.
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