If you thought it was safe to go back in the water, you might want to reconsider.
Remains of a new species of mega shark, related to the 60 foot Megalodon, have been uncovered in coastal waters.
The finds have revealed that a previously unknown 12-foot ocean predator lived over 20 million years ago, during the Miocene period, in shallow coastal waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Five fossilised teeth have been found on sites in California, North Carolina, Peru and Japan: which begs the question, why did such a globally widespread shark go unnoticed for so long?
Professor Kenshu Shimada, at DePaul University in Chicago, said: “It is quite remarkable that such a large lamniform shark with such a global distribution had evaded recognition until now.
“It indicates just how little we still know about the Earth’s ancient marine ecosystem,” said Shimada.
Scientists claim that the shark, named the Megalolamna Paradoxodon, was a similar size to today’s great white sharks.
This estimate is based on tooth to body ratio calculations that were made after the fossil discoveries: “At first glance, teeth of Megalolamna Paradoxodon look like gigantic teeth of the genus Lamna, that includes the modern salmon sharks.”
But, after closer examination, it seems the Megalolamna is actually a species of it’s own, Shimada told Live Scientist: “The fossil teeth are too robust for Lamna — it shows a mosaic of dental features reminiscent of the genus Otodus.
“So, we determined it to be a new species to science that belongs to the family Otodontidae with no direct relationship with Lamna.”