The megalodon, a giant prehistoric shark that has inspired numerous documentaries, books and blockbuster movies, may have disappeared a million years earlier than previously thought, show new research.
Previous studies have shown that the species died 2.6 million years ago, and recent studies link its death to that of other marine species with supernova caused by the death of a star known to have occurred at that time.
It is believed that the radiation caused by the cosmic rays that hit the planet could cause a huge leap in cancer among the largest animals.
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But the re-examination of the fossil data revealed Otodus megalodon, which can grow to 59 feet long, almost three times larger than the largest recorded large white shark – perhaps disappeared 3.6 million years ago, and scientists say its disappearance may be related to the rise of your younger cousin.
A team of researchers led by a spine paleontologist, Robert Bosneker, of the Charleston College of South Carolina, has found in many places problems with fossil record data in the study evaluating the date of extinction.
They discovered that by the end of the early Pliocene era there had been real fossils, 3.6 million years ago. All later fossils or have a weak origin of data and are likely to have come from other fossil sites or show evidence of erosion from the older deposits published in Journal of Life Sciences and the Environment concluded,
Until 3.6 million years ago, the megalodon had a continuous fossil record on the west coast of America.
"We used the same world data as earlier researchers, but we thoroughly checked every fossil encounter and found that most dates had several problems – fossils with dates too young or inaccurate, fossils that were misidentified, or old dates that are were refined. through improvements in geology – and we now know that the specimens are much younger, "said Dr. Boessenecker.
"After making large adjustments to this world sample and statistically reviewing the data, we found that the disappearance of Oh Megalodon it must have happened at least one million years earlier than the predetermined one. "
Fossil Megalodon Tooth (Getty)
The findings are a "substantial correction," researchers say, as it means that megalodon may have disappeared long before a large number of extinct seals, walruses, sea cows, pigs, dolphins and whales disappeared about 1 to 2.5 million years ago.
Researchers suggest that the competition with the newly developed large white shark is a more likely cause of the disappearance of the megalodon.
Big white first appeared in the fossil record with jagged teeth about 6 million years ago and only in the Pacific Ocean.
But four million years ago they were common in the oceans around the world.
"We suggest that this short overlap (3.6-4 million years ago) has been enough time for the big white sharks to spread around the world and compete. O megalodon in its entirety, making it disappear, not [their death being due to] radiation from space, "says Dr. Bosneker.
He added, "The disappearance of O megalodon It is believed that it was previously related to the disappearance of the sea mass, but in fact we now know that the two are not directly related.
The research team also questioned whether the proposed mass extinction really happened, as it had previously theorized since the fossils of marine mammals aged between 1 and 2 million years are extremely rare and there is a period of 2 million years of "stirring"
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"There may be a period of turnover from the fauna [with] many species disappear and many new species appear, not real immediate and catastrophic extinction caused by astronomical cataclysm as supernova, "said Dr. Bosneker.
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