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March 9, 2008 7:54 AM   Subscribe

Carcharodon megalodon: The greatest predator that ever lived
posted by hadjiboy (32 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
THAT IS AWESOME (but probably not greater than humans).
posted by Brocktoon at 7:57 AM on March 9, 2008


It's obviously not the greatest if it's extinct.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 8:04 AM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror is so bad it is almost good.
posted by marxchivist at 8:07 AM on March 9, 2008


Is that James Lipton?
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 8:22 AM on March 9, 2008


Carcharodon megalodon (Agassiz, 1843), the giant "Megatooth" shark, ruled all the warmwater seas during the Neogene Period

Can we stop anthropromorphizing predators in these things? The damn shark didn't rule the seas. It was bigger than a lot of other animals in the sea and it often ate them.

Also, just because something is the biggest, doesn't mean it was the "greatest."
posted by Ironmouth at 8:25 AM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you haven't killed an afternoon reading the delightfully braindead Meg, in which one of these comes back, then you don't know what true idiotic joy is.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 8:27 AM on March 9, 2008


Can we stop anthropromorphizing predators in these things? The damn shark didn't rule the seas. It was bigger than a lot of other animals in the sea and it often ate them.

Also, just because something is the biggest, doesn't mean it was the "greatest."


Awesome comment! Your favorite prehistoric oceanic predator sucks.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 8:39 AM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meg is pretty bad. I got farther into it than The DaVinci Code, though, which is maybe saying something. That something said, while I don't think it's in the book, I did hear that the proposed film adaptation would have featured a megalodon bursting out of the sea to eat a helicopter. My God. My GOD!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:39 AM on March 9, 2008


Also, just because something is the biggest, doesn't mean it was the "greatest."

This used to be the case.

During the mid 1950's there was a formalization of Giant Monster taxonomies.

After the misaligned and fairly distasteful discoveries of the early 1930's (Kong and the rather unpleasant Might Joe Young Incident) there was a renewed interest in formal monster hierarchy.

Rather than resolved through political infighting or a media blitz, a decision was made to focus on physical size.

As the largest dedicated sea predator, Megaladon was declared the greatest sea predator of all time in 1957.

For more info, see -
IshirĂ´ Honda, Gojia : Godzilla - King of the Monsters, Tokyo Japan, Toho, 1954
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:40 AM on March 9, 2008 [7 favorites]


I'm thinking, with a name like "Ironmouth" someone is a bit jealous, eh?

and, THIS is why they call them "the landlord"
posted by HuronBob at 8:41 AM on March 9, 2008


Oh yeah, I read all of Steve Alten's book except for the Loch.

His other books are...

umm.

stupid.

Like James Rollins Stupid. (James Rollins wrote the one about the astronaut navy seal guy who was sad and emo because his girlfriend fell out of the space shuttle when it was landing and he tried to save her and grabbed her hand and her glove fell off and she fell out so he was sad and then there was a bunch of stuff about a pyramid and the end of the world and space beams but at the end of the book the world ends and everyone dies but the good guys manage to trigger a time machine and make everything go back the way it was but the bad guys who were somewhere the time machine didn't fix so they stayed dead)

I think the stupidest Alten did was Goliath. It was about a superintelligent super stealth submarine with a smart AI comandeered by some rogue scientist. And it had a giant monster of some sort.

For a better sea monster book, White Shark (Peter Benchley) isn't bad. Nazi Shark Man, but normal sized, not a giant nazi shark man.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:45 AM on March 9, 2008


You can find petrified sharks teeth off of Venice, Florida beaches from extinct species of sharks. Venice is called "shark tooth capital of the world". Especially after a hurricane when the waters get churned up, but even in the mildest of weather you can find lots of tiny fossils and the occasional big fossilized tooth.
posted by 45moore45 at 8:50 AM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


For a better sea monster book, White Shark (Peter Benchley) isn't bad. Nazi Shark Man, but normal sized, not a giant nazi shark man.

When I was a kid, my grandmother's nurse one day left this book sitting out where I could find it. Not grasping the whole concept of, like, perspective, I assumed it was about a gigantic pirate attacking an island with a gigantic knife. In fact, the novel turned out to be about regular-sized pirates. That probably would have been okay, if not for the dangled promise of gigantic monster pirates. Oh, Peter Benchley...why do you let us down again and again???
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:53 AM on March 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just did some research, and it seems like this thing was more than twice as big as killer whales and great white sharks. I also found out that there's video evidence of a killer whale taking out a great white shark, but I can't see shit in the video.
posted by creasy boy at 8:55 AM on March 9, 2008


Greatest doesn't have to be interpreted as "the best," by definition it can refer to size.

Yikes, a few humans would be like a side order of spareribs to these big guys, probably not even a main course.

Ironmouth, I heard they not only ruled the sea, they acted like real bullies, taunting the whales with a "neener neener neener" sing-songy chant and flipping them a fin.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:03 AM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


One of my friends is a diver and amateur paleontologist and he finds lots of cool fossils off Venice Beach. He gave me a C. megalodon tooth which is the size of my palm. It's so wickedly big and evil-looking, it even impresses adolescent boys. That, my friends, is the definition of bad-ass the greatest predator.
posted by Quietgal at 9:07 AM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's weird they died out if they ate whales. Whales were real common till a hundred or so years ago and there are lots of species like sperm whales that don't migrate. When you think about it it makes sense that there would be a whale eating shark, since they are such a nice big treat.
posted by afu at 10:06 AM on March 9, 2008


Greatest doesn't have to be interpreted as "the best," by definition it can refer to size.

I can't help but think of the people who didn't know this wondering why they call it the Great White Shark. Or the Great Wall of China for that matter. Or the Great Depression.
posted by sfenders at 10:34 AM on March 9, 2008


Meg is indeed joyously stupid, and it is a damn shame that the various attempts to turn it into an even more joyously stupid hundred-million-dollar movie have all gone blooey.

On the other hand, there is its sequel The Trench which makes Meg seem like Dostoevsky. For one, it adds a villain straight out of Roger Moore era James Bond. And it adds kronosaurs, aquatic reptiles, that live at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. How do these reptiles breathe? They don't -- they were underwater all the time, so naturally they adapted by growing gills. I mean, duh.

The greatest predator that ever lived

It's a little known fact that megalodons never actually lived. They were entirely zombie sharks. An earlier charcarodon species happened to pass too near a natural reactor, and became zombified. It and its undead offspring grew to enormous size.

They didn't disappear completely until AD 1147, when a monk was baptizing people in the sea and accidentally turned the entire mass of ocean-water into holy water, thus double-killing the few remaining undead sharks. A baby whizzed in the holy ocean a few minutes later, turning off this effect, which is why David Hasselhoff could enter the water in Baywatch.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:37 AM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


oh god. i made the horrible mistake of renting Meg as a book on tape when i was driving through californian desert years ago. this was the book where i discovered that while much good writing is made better by being read aloud, bad writing is uniformly made worse by being read aloud.

one entire cassette of the book-on-tape was nonfunctional, and i didn't really miss it. the phrase "nine inch" (describing the teeth) appeared so often that it began to seem like really bad net.porn.

it was pretty hilarious, and certainly filled the need for entertainment while i was driving, though.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:01 PM on March 9, 2008


also, i'd never realized until today that the same guy wrote "domain", which was an "i'm bored on an airplane" book i borrowed from someone who then refused to take it back.

there are some books meant to be read. there are some books only meant to be read on airplanes.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:11 PM on March 9, 2008


Meh. Mosasaurs were almost as large and had more style.

Also, what happened to the theory that megalodons were deep-sea sharks that were kinda limp and flabby? That one amused me.
posted by bettafish at 3:46 PM on March 9, 2008


"...no well documented "Megatooth" fossils have been found younger than 3 mya, but remember paleontologists once believed that all coelacanths went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, 65 mya, and it is still alive today!"

Holy fucking shit, Holy fucking shit, Holy fucking shit, Holy fucking shit, Holy fucking shit, Holy fucking shit, ...

Actually, very cool.
posted by not_on_display at 4:00 PM on March 9, 2008


What did Megatooth Eat?

Given the size of those jaws, whatever the hell it wanted, I should think.
posted by Zinger at 4:37 PM on March 9, 2008


Candygram ...
posted by bwg at 5:05 PM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also, just because something is the biggest, doesn't mean it was the "greatest."

True. Ali was The Greatest.
posted by bwg at 5:06 PM on March 9, 2008


Giant sharks you say? Please. You want vicious predators.? I give you Possum Death Spree.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:26 PM on March 9, 2008


I'm thinking, with a name like "Ironmouth" someone is a bit jealous, eh?

Actually I write a political blog with some friends and it is titled "The Iron Mouth" which is named after a political journal of the French Revolution entitled "La Bouche de Fer," which means "the Mouth of Iron" in English. I just thought that name was so cool.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:05 PM on March 9, 2008


Meg was on my to-read list for a long time... mainly based around the glorious sample opening few pages on Amazon where our hero takes at Tyrannosaur or something after it makes the mistake of going paddling. Unfortunately before I could get around to actually ordering it, for some bizarre reason it went out of print on this side of the Atlantic... and I'm not that keen enough to read a bad book (no matter how glorious) to track it down on ebay or something.

But top marine monster? During the Silurian? That was obviously The Sea Devils.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:05 AM on March 10, 2008


I can't help but think of the people who didn't know this wondering why they call it the Great White Shark. Or the Great Wall of China for that matter. Or the Great Depression.

Man, that Depression was the best!
posted by shakespeherian at 8:05 AM on March 10, 2008


I have a fossilized megalodon tooth. My dad found it in a dredge tailing pile. It's as big as my hand. This was a really, really big fish.
posted by kjs3 at 2:53 PM on March 10, 2008


I clicked through on this thread just to see if someone made a Chuck Norris joke. You all disappoint me.
posted by davidstandaford at 5:49 PM on March 11, 2008


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