Could Megalodon Sharks That Inspired ‘The Meg’ Still Exist?

'The Meg'
‘The Meg’ trailer | Zero Media via YouTube

A new movie titled The Meg has raised a question about whether a species of sharks known as megalodons still exist in the depths of the ocean today. The film, starring Jason Statham, has been described as Jaws on steroids and is expected to pull in decent numbers as its being hailed as the Jurassic World of shark movies.

The Meg poses the notion that these prehistoric creatures still lurk in our waters. Of course, that’s a terrifying thought, but is it true? Here’s what we know about megs and if they are roaming the ocean today.

About megalodons

The giant sharks lived millions of years ago and researchers believe they could have grown anywhere from 40 to 70 feet and weighed about 100 tons. That’s three times the size of a great white shark which was what terrorized beachgoers in the Jaws movies. Razor-sharp teeth, some as long as 6 to 7 inches, have also been found. The meg’s diet consisted of whale, squid, and other large fish.

But scientists think they are long gone. One theory about how these monster sharks may have become extinct is that they died off during the Pliocene Epoch.

“We were able to show that around a third of marine megafauna disappeared about three to two million years ago,” Dr. Caroline Pimiento, a researcher at the University of Zurich, explained. “Therefore, the marine megafaunal communities that humans inherited were already altered and functioning at a diminished diversity.”

Megalodon sightings

While these prehistoric creatures are thought to have long been extinct, there have been plenty of online claims from people who believe they saw a meg. Many know to take such claims with a grain of salt though since there have been thousands of Bigfoot and Loch Ness monster sightings over the years too.

One video that captured a lot of attention was uploaded to YouTube in 2016 and showed a huge creature swimming near the ocean floor. Some viewers were stunned and began commenting that this was proof megs are still alive until others pointed out that it was really a docile Pacific sleeper shark.

What the evidence supports

Evidence does not support it being likely that megalodons are still lurking in the waters today. The biggest reason is because sharks shed thousands of teeth throughout their lifetime but no megalodon teeth have washed up anywhere.

“That’s one of the reasons why we know megalodon’s definitely extinct. We would have found a tooth,” said paleobiologist Meghan Balk.

Paleontologist Steve Jasinsky agrees and doesn’t think there’s any way these sharks could still live in the ocean and remain undetected for so long.

“There is as much of a chance of megalodon being alive today, for the most part, that you would see a dinosaur still alive,” he told Inside Edition.

So while they may no longer be in the ocean there are plenty of conspiracy theorists who certainly believe they are still out there or just want them to be like adventurer Paul De Gelder. Although he lost an arm and leg in a shark attack, he is holding out hope that there still may be a monster shark out there.

“I’d like to think that maybe there is one,” he said. “I’d love it if there was one, but I just don’t think so.”