Great white sharks might have assisted drive megalodons to termination

For countless years, megalodon sharks were leading ocean predators– and after that came the terrific whites. New analyses of teeth hint that competitors for food from terrific white sharks might have assisted offer the megatoothed giants an additional push towards termination.

Scientists rebuilded shark feeding practices by examining zinc in the teeth of 20 living shark types and 13 extinct types, consisting of megalodons ( Otodus megalodon). Megalodons and fantastic whites inhabited a comparable eco-friendly specific niche, feasting on marine mammals such as whales and seals, the scientists report May 31 in Nature Communications

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O. megalodon was among the biggest predators ever to live, growing to a minimum of 14 meters long ( SN: 1/12/21). This huge started alarming the oceans around 23 million years back. When– and why– it went extinct isn’t clear. The types might have remained till about 2.6 million years earlier. Or it might have disappeared as early as 3.5 million years earlier, right around the time that the fantastic white shark Carcharodon carcharias appeared.

To determine if the 2 sharks dined on comparable food, the scientists relied on zinc, which has 2 primary types: zinc-66 and zinc-64 The relative abundances of those isotopes, protected in tooth enamel, can show an animal’s position in a food web. Plants– and plant eaters– are fairly high in zinc-66 Greater up the food cycle, that 66- to-64 ratio reduces.

The analyses exposed that when and where O. megalodon and C. carcharias overlapped, the sharks had comparable ratios. That finding recommends that their diet plans overlapped too, state geoscientist Jeremy McCormack of limit Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and associates.

Still, that the sharks taken in comparable victim isn’t evidence they remained in competitors, the scientists state. And there are numerous aspects that might have assisted drive megalodons to termination ( SN: 8/10/18). Those aspects consist of ocean blood circulation modifications, collapsing victim populations and competitors for food with other ocean animals, like whales.

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