Sharks are known for being the most terrifying species to roam the seas, made infamous by the horror flick "Jaws."
But great whites look tame compared to the ancient megalodon species. Here’s all you need to know about the giant-jawed creature.
What was the megalodon shark?
The megalodon, widely regarded as the biggest shark that’s ever lived, prowled our seas from around 28 million years ago.
It is one of the largest vertebrate predators in history.
Remarkably, scientists believe that the creature consumed around a ton of food per day to sustain itself, including whales and other large marine critters like sea lions.
Experts have had to base their research on teeth and other remains found in the ocean, so there has been much debate about what the monsters were really like.
How big was the megalodon?
Megalodon remains suggest that the ancient sea creature could grow to around three times the size of a great white.
Their minimum size was approximately 40 feet and it’s believed they could reach 59 feet at their biggest.
Terrifyingly, experts have found razor-sharp shark teeth over 7 inches in length.
Do megalodon sharks still exist?
The megalodon species is extinct, although some conspiracy theorists claim that the predator is still roaming our oceans.
Seamen have given accounts of spotting the prehistoric creatures.
One of these tales came from New South Wales fishermen in 1918, who claimed that their nets had been stolen by a huge shark.
Another report from 1933 insisted that a mysterious sea beast with a enormous brown tale was spotted off the coast of French Polynesia.
Despite these accounts, the majority of experts are adamant that there’s no evidence that the giant predator still exists.
Why are megalodons extinct?
For decades, experts have been debating the reasons why the shark species died out.
Some believe that a decline in food supply and the cooling of the oceans diminished the megalodon population.
But the newest theory, which has been brought to light by the University of Zurich, claims to have solved the mystery.
This research states that a third of the ocean’s largest marine animals perished during the Pilocene Epoch, around 5.3 million to around 9,700 years BC.
During this period, the megalodon may have been one of the creatures forced into extinction.
Dr. Caroline Pimiento, who led the research, said: "We were able to show that around a third of marine megafauna disappeared about three to two million years ago.
"Therefore, the marine megafaunal communities that humans inherited were already altered and functioning at a diminished diversity."
This story originally appeared in The Sun.