Based on studies of fossilized teeth, scientists estimate that the megalodon, a prehistoric shark, measured 52 feet long and had jaws large enough to consume a rhino. The megalodon would dwarf the modern grizzly bear or great white shark. Scientists surmise that these giant predators required large amounts of food to survive.
Based on estimates of the size of the megalodon, scientists estimate that these giant creatures consumed an average of 2,500 lbs. of food each day. Fossilized megalodon teeth suggest that these animals were carnivorous, meaning their diet consisted mostly of meat. Whales, such as killer whales, or orcas, probably made up the majority of the megalodon diet.
Scientists speculate that the megalodon likely ate any meat it could find. Its large, serrated teeth would have enabled it to eat large fish and other sharks as well as whales. The megalodon may also have eaten early ancestors of sea lions called allodesmus.
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Starvation may have contributed to the megalodon’s extinction. At the end of the Pliocene era, about 1.6 million years ago, major environmental changes left these predators in nutrient-poor waters. The megalodon preferred warm tropical waters, and may have been unable to follow its food sources to more temperate zones. Meanwhile, lowered sea levels may have left the megalodon without safe nursery areas for its young, leaving them vulnerable to large predators, such as whales.
White Shark Feeding
Modern great white sharks eat California sea lions, Northern fur seals, elephant seals and pelicans. White sharks feed relatively infrequently and stalk their prey methodically, allowing them to conserve energy and avoid expending needless calories.