(ORDO NEWS) — The researchers studied the teeth of great white sharks and the extinct megalodon and concluded that competition for food between the two species may have contributed to the extinction of the second.
What could have caused the extinction of such a giant predator?
Otodus megalodon was truly a giant predator: the length of the shark was about 15 meters, and its fin alone was the size of a man. Surprisingly, great white sharks may have contributed to the extinction of this giant.
In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications , scientists analyzed the tooth enamel of megalodons to understand what they ate.
The new teeth that grow in a shark adapt to the diet. Diet affects how much zinc will be in the enamel. By analyzing zinc isotopes in teeth, scientists can determine the owner’s diet as well as their position in the food chain.
How was the research?
The scientists analyzed zinc isotopes in the teeth of megalodon, 20 extant shark species, and 12 non-megalodon fossil species.
A comparison of the white shark ( Carcharodon carcharias ) and megalodon – two species that once co-existed in the early Pliocene – showed they were close together in the food chain. They could hunt for the same prey and compete for the same resources.
Researchers still do not know the exact cause of the extinction of megalodons. The authors of the new article suggest that the reason for this was a variety of factors. And one of them is competition from white sharks.
The authors also note that their work can be a starting point for such studies.
“Our study illustrates the possibility of using zinc isotopes to study the diet and trophic ecology of extinct animals over millions of years, a method that could also be applied to other fossil animal groups, including our own ancestors,” the scientists conclude.
Contact us: [email protected]