Advertisement.

EnchantedLearning.com is a user-supported site.
As a bonus, site members have access to a banner-ad-free version of the site, with print-friendly pages.
Click here to learn more.

ad
(Already a member? Click here.)

Table of Contents
Enchanted Learning
All About Sharks!

Geologic Time Chart
Introduction to Sharks Introduction to Rays Anatomy Shark and Ray Species Extreme Sharks Extinct Sharks Classification Shark Glossary Shark Index Printables, Worksheets, and Activities

Shark Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U-Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the shark or shark term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

MEGALODON
(meaning "Giant Tooth")
Go to a Megalodon Printout



Megalodon was an ancient shark that may have been 40 feet (12 m) long or even more. (There are a few scientists who estimate that it could have been up to 50 or 100 feet (15.5 or 31 m) long!) This is at least two or three times as long as the Great White Shark, but this is only an estimate made from many fossilized teeth and a few fossilized vertebrae that have been found. These giant teeth are the size of a person's hand! No other parts of this ancient shark have been found, so we can only guess what it looked like. Since Megalodon's teeth are very similar to the teeth of the Great White Shark (but bigger and thicker), it is thought that Megalodon may have looked like a huge, streamlined version of the Great White Shark.

MEGALODON'S DIET
Megalodon's diet probably consisted mostly of whales. Sharks eat about 2 percent of their body weight each day; this a bit less than a human being eats. Since most sharks are cold-blooded, they don't have to eat as much as we eat (a lot of our food intake is used to keep our bodies warm).

TEETH AND JAWS
Shark fossils are extremely rare because sharks have no bones, only cartilage, which does not fossilize well. Their teeth, however, are very hard. Their teeth are made of a bone-like material coated with hard enamel and they fossilize very well. Megalodon teeth are similar to those of the Great White Shark, but are much bigger, thicker, and with finer serrrations. Megalodon's jaws could open 6 feet (1.8 m) wide and 7 feet (2.1 m) high. The jaws were loosely attached by ligaments and muscles to the skull, opening extremely wide in order to swallow enormous objects. It could easily swallow a large Great White Shark whole!

Like most sharks, Megalodon's teeth were probably located in rows which rotated into use as they were needed. Most sharks have about 3-5 rows of teeth at any time. The front set does most of the work. The first two rows are used for obtaining prey, the other rows rotate into place as they are needed. As teeth are lost, broken, or worn down, they are replaced by new teeth. Megalodon may have had hundreds of teeth at one time. It did not chew their food like we do, but gulped it down whole in very large chunks.

WHEN MEGALODON LIVED
Megalodon lived from roughly 25 to 1.6 million years ago, during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs. It is now extinct, but the exact time of its extinction is hotly debated.

MEGALODON ANATOMY


MEGALODON FOSSILS
Fossilized Megalodon teeth up to 6.5 inches (17 cm) long have been found in Europe, India, Oceania (the general area around Australia including New Zealand, New Caledonia, etc.), North America, and South America.

MEGALODON CLASSIFICATION
Carcharodon megalodon was named by Agassiz in 1843. There is some debate as to whether megalodon was an ancestor of the Great White Shark or was an evolutionary dead end.

Kingdom Animalia (animals)
Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata (vertebrates)
Class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish)
Subclass Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Order Lamniformes
Family Lamnidae (genus Carcharodon) or Otodontidae (genus Carcharocles)
Genus Carcharodon (meaning "rough tooth") or Carcharocles (There is currently some debate as to whether the megalodon's genus should be Carcharocles or Carcharodon. Megalodon was once thought to be a direct ancestor of the white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, and so was put in the same genus; new evidence indicates that it not ancestral to the great white shark, so Megalodon was assigned to a new genus, Carcharocles)
Species megalodon




Enchanted Learning®
Over 35,000 Web Pages
Sample Pages for Prospective Subscribers, or click below

Overview of Site
What's New
Enchanted Learning Home
Monthly Activity Calendar
Books to Print
Site Index

K-3
Crafts
K-3 Themes
Little Explorers
Picture dictionary
PreK/K Activities
Rebus Rhymes
Stories
Writing
Cloze Activities
Essay Topics
Newspaper
Writing Activities
Parts of Speech

Fiction
The Test of Time
iPhone app
TapQuiz Maps - free iPhone Geography Game

Biology
Animal Printouts
Biology Label Printouts
Biomes
Birds
Butterflies
Dinosaurs
Food Chain
Human Anatomy
Mammals
Plants
Rainforests
Sharks
Whales
Physical Sciences: K-12
Astronomy
The Earth
Geology
Hurricanes
Landforms
Oceans
Tsunami
Volcano
Languages
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Japanese (Romaji)
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Geography/History
Explorers
Flags
Geography
Inventors
US History

Other Topics
Art and Artists
Calendars
College Finder
Crafts
Graphic Organizers
Label Me! Printouts
Math
Music
Word Wheels

Click to read our Privacy Policy

E-mail Busy Little Brains
CD-ROM


Enchanted Learning Search

Search the Enchanted Learning website for:



Advertisement.



Advertisement.



Advertisement.





Copyright ©1996 EnchantedLearning.com ------ How to cite a web page