Megalodon, an ancient shark measuring up to 65 feet long and weighing more than 50 tons, ate sperm whales by ripping their heads off with its huge teeth, a new study has shown.
The now extinct shark – which is three and a half times larger than the Great White – was attracted to sperm whales by their huge noses.
It even attacked the huge related sperm whale Leviathan melvillei – named after the author of Moby Dick, scientists say.
The sperm whale’s huge snout is filled with oily saturated fats that generate the rattling sounds used for echolocation and communication – and increase buoyancy.
Cloth was the most nutritious food of the megalodon.
Read more: 6-year-old boy discovers megalodon shark tooth
The findings are based on fossilized sperm whale skulls seven million years old from the coastal desert of southern Peru.
A series of bite marks indicate that sharks – including Leviathan – feed on them constantly. They shed new light on the evolution of marine ecosystems.
Lead author Aldo Benites-Palomino, a paleontology student at the University of Zurich, said: “These are concentrated along the nose, mouth and face.
“In sperm whales, these regions receive most of their very enlarged nasal organs which are responsible for the sound production and emission system.
“The main organs of this complex are the spermaceti and the melon, structures rich in fats and oils, but also strongly regulated by the facial muscles.
“Most bite marks were found on bones that would be adjacent to these soft tissue structures, such as the jaws, or around the eye, indicating that the sharks were actively targeting this region.”
Read more: How Great White Sharks Beat Megalodon
Megatooth sharks such as the megalodon get their name from their massive teeth, which can each be bigger than a human hand.
While sharks of one type or another existed long before the dinosaurs – for more than 400 million years – these megatooth sharks evolved after the extinction of the dinosaurs and ruled the seas until there. only 3 million years ago.
Research from Princeton this month suggested the megalodon also ate all other predators in the ocean.
“We are used to thinking of the larger species – blue whales, whale sharks, even elephants and diplodocus – as filter feeders or herbivores, not predators,” said graduate Emma Kast. PhD in geosciences in 2019 at Princeton.
“But megalodon and other megatooth sharks were truly huge carnivores that ate other predators, and ‘Meg’ went extinct only a few million years ago.”
Danny Sigman, professor of geological and geophysical sciences at Princeton in Dusenbury, said: “If megalodon existed in the modern ocean, it would completely change the way humans interact with the marine environment.
Watch: What happened to the Megalodons?