I love sharks. I love them in movies, in books, in documentaries, heck, I’d probably even love them in real life, at a safe distance, from dry land maybe, with someone slower and weaker than myself ten feet in front of me, just in case, but my appalling cowardice aside, sharks are great, few things are better than sharks. But I’ll tell you one thing that could be better than a shark. A bloody great, massive prehistoric shark!
|I particularly like how the diagrammatic man is giving a nonchalant wave. Well hello, have you met my increasingly massive sharks?|
The Megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon) is an extinct species of shark that lived roughly from 28 to 1.5 million years ago. Fossil remains suggest that this giant shark could reach lengths of in excess of 52ft (16 metres). In essence, the Megalodon was a ruddy big shark. The Megalodon has intrigued scientists and cryptozoologists for years. But it’s extinct, right? Hmmm, maybe not.
Here is possibly the most famous reported Megalodon encounter taken from David G. Stead’s Sharks and Rays of Australian Seas, 1963, Stead, an Australian marine biologist, ichthyologist, oceanographer, conservationist and writer and therefore surely credible investigator into such matters,details the instance as it was told to him by those involved.
‘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.’
In 1933 another sighting was recorded this time by Western novelist and deep sea fishing fanatic Zane Grey and his son Loren. Returning from a fishing trip one evening Loren spotted seagulls spiralling over a particular area of yellowish water:
‘At first I thought it was a whale, but when the great brown tail rose in the ship’s wake as the fish moved ponderously away from the liner, I knew immediately that it was a monstrous shark. The huge round head appeared to be at least 10 to 12 feet across if not more … It was my belief that this huge, yellowish, barnacled creature must have been at least 40 or 50 feet long. He was not a whale shark: the whale shark has a distinctive white purplish green appearance with large brown spots and much narrower head. So what was he—perhaps a true prehistoric monster of the deep?’ source
And more recently still B. Clay Cartmell author of Let’s go Fossil Shark Tooth Hunting puts forward two accounts. The first is reported sonar trackings of an unidentifiable object about 100 ft (30 m) long that was travelling faster than any submarine. While the validity of this account may appear negligible a second instance is also recorded by Cartmell.
‘In the 1960’s along the outer edge of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, an 85 foot [26 m] ship experienced engine trouble which forced it to weigh anchor for repairs. Although the men subsequently refused to openly report what they had seen for fear of public ridicule, the captain and his crew later told friends of sighting an immense shark as it moved slowly past their ship. Whitish in color, they were awed by its size. It was as long if not longer than their boat! Experienced men of the sea, they too were certain the creature was not a whale.’ source
Most recently this possible account surfaced: ‘Swimmers in Australia have been seeing what they describe as a “monster” shark swimming just off shore. A local beach had to be closed for 2 days due to the fear of this monster. This happened in February of 2007 and some people are suggesting that this is a large Great White or perhaps a large Tiger shark. Unfortunately, no one has been able to identify the shark yet.’ source
This is my Megalodon tooth. I found it on one of my research missions. By ‘I’ I mean my husband and by ’found’ and ‘research mission’ I mean bought on Ebay, and I suppose in the spirit of full disclosure by ‘tooth’ I mean fossil. But it’s still awesome!
|Best Valentine present ever!|
Oh, Megalodon, how wonderful it would be if you did still live, granted the oceanic ecosystem would probably be devastated and I’m sure the wider implications of that devastation would be detrimental to life as we know it, but it would be so cool!