Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prehistoric mega-shark raised its young in nurseries

Prehistoric mega-shark raised its young in nurseries

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An artist’s impression of the prehistoric shark Otodus megalodon. AFP

Prehistoric mega-shark raised its young in nurseries

The largest sharks ever to have roamed the oceans parked their young in shallow, warm-water nurseries where food was abundant and predators scarce until they could assume their title as kings and queens of the sea.

But as sea levels declined in a cooling world, the brutal mega-predator, Otodus megalodon, may have found fewer and fewer safe-haven coastal zones where its young could safely reach adulthood, researchers reported on November 25 in The Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Indeed, the reliance on nurseries may have contributed to the end of their 20-million-year reign, according to the research.

Otodus megalodon – sometimes classified as a Carcharocles megalodon – took 25 years to become an adult – “an extremely delayed sexual maturity”, the authors said in the research paper.

But once it was fully grown, the shark could reach up to 18m, three times the size of the largest great white shark, made famous by the 1975 hit-movie Jaws.

As an apex predator up until its extinction around three million years ago, the adult megalodon had no rivals among other ocean hunters and feasted on smaller sharks and even whales.

But its young were vulnerable to attacks by other predators, often other razor-toothed sharks.

Nurseries on shallow continental shelves with extensive smaller fish for food and few competing predators gave them the ideal space to reach their awesome size.

“Our results reveal, for the first time, that nursery areas were commonly used by over large temporal and spatial scales,” said the authors.

The research team discovered a nursery zone off the eastern coast of Spain in Tarragona province after visiting a museum and observing a collection of Otodus megalodon teeth.

“Many of them were quite small for such a large animal,” the authors from the British University of Bristol, Carlos Martinez-Perez and Humberto Ferron, told AFP.

The vast reduction of shallow water nurseries due to sea-level losses – caused by a cooler climate – may also have contributed to the shark’s eventual extinction.


  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Courts’ decisions now published as reference source

    The Ministry of Justice has published 44 verdicts from civil litigation cases which can be used as models for court precedents and for study by the public and those who work in pertinent fields. Publication of the verdicts on December 31 came as the result of joint

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • China firm to develop Mondulkiri airport

    Tourism to the Kingdom’s northeast corridor could experience a remarkable metamorphosis after the government decided in principle of a Chinese company to study and develop a proposal to build a regional-level airport in Mondulkiri province, according to industry insiders. The Council of Ministers said