By Erin C., Contributing writer
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
(NEW FRONTIER NEWS) – According to research presented at the American Geophysical Union conference, the Megalodon, a giant, prehistoric shark, likely went extinct due to its body temperature.
According to the study, the body temperature of the shark could not handle the ocean temperatures as they began to cool, contrary to the way modern-day sharks can regulate their body temperature.
The sharks had to migrate to lower latitudes of the ocean, while their prey remained and adapted to the cooling oceans.
The body temperature of the shark was found in preliminary testing when isotope measurements between modern and the prehistoric shark’s teeth showed that the Megalodon maintained a higher body temperature.
According to an abstract of the research, the preliminary results “may provide clues as to what may have led to the demise of O. megalodon during the Pliocene. For example, one hypothesis is that O. megalodon consumed large quantities of prey in order to maintain such a high body temperature.” The researchers also added that there “is little agreement as to the primary cause for O. megalodon’s disappearance, but either the lack of food or environmental change influenced its extinction.”
Research paints a pretty morbid picture for the sharks as their prey and environment around them changed.
“However, cooling of ocean temperatures during the Pliocene would have constrained the species to lower latitudes where ocean temperatures were warmer, whilst its preferred prey (e.g., whales) evolved traits to adapt to cooler temperatures of the higher latitudes. Therefore, large climatic shifts combined with evolutionary limitations may provide the ‘smoking gun’ for the extinction of the largest shark species to ever roam the planet.”
Because of its large size, the shark had a body temperature similar to that of whales, clocking in as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Contrasting, the prehistoric counterparts to the Mako and Great White shark had temperatures from 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit
Ciaccia, Chris. (December 2018). Megalodon may have gone extinct for this shocking reason. FOX News. The United States of America. https://www.foxnews.com/science/megalodon-may-have-gone-extinct-for-shocking-reason
Wehner, Mike. (December 2018). Mega-shark Megalodon may have died off because it got too hot. BGR. The United States of America. https://bgr.com/2018/12/11/megalodon-extinction-teeth-body-temperature/