MEGALODON: WORLD’S BIGGEST SHARK WAS WIPED OUT DURING A GLOBAL EXTINCTION OF OCEAN’S MEGAFAUNA
Updated | The largest shark lived is erased when a worldwide extinction event hitherto unknown, which saw 36% of the megafauna disappeared marine worldwide.
Carcarocles megalodon could reach up to 60 feet in length and had measuring jaws 9 feet wide. There lived 23 million years until the end of the Pliocene era, there are about 2.6 million years.
What caused its extinction was the subject of debate for many years: changing environmental conditions, declining prey and the emergence of new marine predators appear to have played a role.
However, in a study published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, scientists have discovered that the disappearance of Megalodon was part of a larger extinction event that has affected large areas of marine life during the Pliocene (5.3 Millions 2.6 million years ago).
The Late Pliocene produced major changes in the global climate. Global temperatures and sea levels have declined dramatically, causing widespread changes in the flora and fauna of the Earth. In the ocean, many individual species have become extinct, while others have begun to emerge. But how did this happen, we do not know.
Scientists led by Catherine Pimiento of the University of Zurich in Switzerland conducted a meta-analysis in which all fossil records published since then are collected. “Individual ion extinguishers have been widely known in paleontological literature,” he told Newsweek magazine. “We found that they were part of a global extinction event.”
The previously unknown extinction event includes marine mammals, sea birds, turtles and sharks, the species is losing at a rate about three times greater than during the Cenozoic era, the geological period that belongs to the Pliocene. A total of 36% of the Pliocene marine megafauna was extinguished.
The researchers also examined the marine megafauna of the Pleistocene era, which followed the Pliocene. By doing this, they were able to show which species were lost and which arose at that time.
Marine mammals have lost 55% of their diversity. Up to 43 percent of sea turtle species have disappeared, while 35 percent of seabirds and 9 percent of sharks are gone.
“The extinction took place in coastal and oceanic species,” Pimiento said. “We focus on coastal species to assess the effects of the extinction of functional diversity and assess whether loss of coastal areas has played a role.”
The results revealed that seven functional entities – groups of animals with unique characteristics – left the coastal ecosystems, which resulted in the decrease of the species. “We have found that changes in sea level caused by glaciation resulted in the loss of coastal areas and the assumption that it caused this extinction,” Pimiento said.
In a statement, he said: “Our models have shown that warm-blooded animals in particular were more likely to disappear. For example, the sea cow species of the nenuphales whales and the giant megalodon C. shark disappeared.
This study shows that marine megafauna were much more vulnerable to global environmental changes in the recent geological past than before.
The team now plans to see how its results can help to give an idea of the extinction of modern megafauna, such as whales and seals.
“Our study warns that as anthropogenic climate change accelerates and causes regime changes in coastal ecosystems, the potential consequences for marine megafafaune should not be underestimated,” the researchers concluded.