(ORDO NEWS) — Although the current sharks occupy the position of the top predators of our seas, even they were inferior in this matter to the extinct megalodon.
This 15-meter giant occupied the highest position in the trophic chain ever measured, that is, it literally could eat everything that came across it.
Just about three million years ago, a megalodon swam in the seas of our planet – the largest shark in history, comparable in size to a small whale. Reaching 15 meters in length and weighing 45 tons, this monstrous predator posed a direct threat to all other inhabitants of the ocean – from fish to the largest mammals.
Most modern sharks eat whatever they can catch for lunch, and megalodon is no different in this. Judging by the marks of his teeth, his diet included fish, sea turtles, seals, sirens and even whales, many of which were comparable in size to him.
To definitively establish Megalodon’s position in the ocean’s prehistoric food chain, scientists conducted an isotopic analysis of its teeth, focusing on nitrogen-15. Ecologists have long known that the more of this nitrogen isotope in the body, the higher the position of the animal in the food chain.
However, until now, no one has been able to measure exactly how much nitrogen-15 is contained in the tooth enamel of ancient sharks.
To develop a method for measuring the amount of nitrogen-15 in tooth enamel, scientists spent decades until they finally got the result.
It turned out that the megalodon and its ancestors were constantly increasing their level in the food chain, until they took the highest position ever recorded for marine predators.
Megalodon was not just a predator, but a super predator, regularly hunting not only peaceful animals, but also other carnivores, such as sperm whales and sharks.
To provide energy for its huge body, this fish devoured literally everything that it saw in front of it. And no other creature could feel safe while a hungry megalodon swam nearby.
Going forward, the team plans to use their nitrogen-15 analysis method to determine levels in the food chain of other animals, including dinosaurs and ancient mammals.
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