With interests in science and nature, the author explores topics from a unique and sometimes controversial perspective.
Is Megalodon in the Mariana Trench?
A living Megalodon deep in the Mariana Trench is a hopeful idea, but modern science tells us that the Megalodon Shark went extinct thousands of years ago. So why do some people think it could still exist in the Trench and other deep places in the ocean?
This is partly due to some famous novels written on the subject, but the logic here sort of makes sense. Megalodon was a 60-foot shark that hunted near shore and fed on large whales and other marine creatures. Obviously, if such a creature still existed it would be visible and well known. This fact alone is enough for most researchers to conclude that Megalodon is extinct.
So, believers reason, if Megalodon still exists it must have evolved to live somewhere it is rarely seen. The Mariana Trench is about as remote as it gets, and even a massive shark would be very hard to find.
As we will see, there are a few problems with this story.
What Is the Mariana Trench?
The Mariana Trench is a massive canyon in the Earth's crust and the deepest part of the ocean. Located in the Western Pacific, it runs for over 1,500 miles but averages only a bit more than 40 miles across.
The Mariana Trench was created by a geological process called subduction. In this case, the Pacific tectonic plate is moving very slowly to the west, and pressure is pushing it down into the Earth's crust where it meets the Philippine Plate. Far to the east, the new ocean floor is created by volcanic activity.
So, the Pacific Ocean floor is like a big conveyor belt, slowly marching westward over time, where it is recycled into the depths of the Mariana Trench. This makes the ocean floor in the Mariana Trench the oldest in the world, dating back around 180 million years.
At its deepest, at a spot called Challenger Deep, the Marina Trench measures over 35,000 feet. By comparison, that's about 6,000 feet deeper than Mount Everest is tall.
Is it really possible a shark could live at those depths? Does anything live at those depths?
What Lives in the Mariana Trench?
For Megalodon to live in the Marina Trench it would require an abundant food supply.
Humans have only traveled to the bottom of Challenger Deep twice. It is a forbidding landscape, and not very hospitable to a predatory shark. At that depth, the only life is tiny amphipods, which wouldn't even rate as a snack for Megalodon.
Starting at around 13,000 feet we see deep-sea fish begin to emerge, but these too are much too small to sustain a creature as large as Megalodon.
To find anything close to a prey item for a 60-foot Megalodon we need to come up to around 8,000 feet, which is the deepest whales are known to dive. A Sperm Whale would surely make a meal for a Megalodon.
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In fact, one of Megalodon's ancient competitors was a massive predatory Sperm Whale with foot-long teeth known as Livyatan Melvillei.
There's a problem with this. If Megalodon still exists and feeds on whales, we'd see evidence on whales that survived attacks, just as we see evidence of great white shark attacks on lucky seals that managed to escape.
The Search for the Megalodon Shark
So how does a coastal predator go from munching on whales, pinnipeds, and massive turtles near shore to eating deep-diving creatures in the Marina Trench?
One possibility is that a small population of Megalodon Sharks had already evolved to live at those depths before the larger population of Megalodon went extinct. Therefore, when the environmental changes occurred that led to the extinction of the Megalodon Shark, the population that lived at great depths continued to thrive while the sharks who lived in shallower water died off.
We see this possibility at other locations where Megalodon is said to still exist. The Sea of Cortez is a body of water between the Baja Peninsula and Mexico. It is rich in sea life, with several species of large whales in residence. At its deepest, it is estimated at nearly 10,000 feet. Stories of massive sharks have circulated in the region for decades, and some believe the Megalodon Shark still lurks in the depths.
Great white sharks are frequent visitors to the Sea of Cortez as well, and some have been known to dive to surprising depths. Can we make any comparisons between Megalodon and great whites, or any other living sharks?
Megalodon Compared to Other Sharks
The Megamouth Shark is a massive fish reaching 20 feet in length or more. Despite its impressive size, it remained unknown until 1976. One of the reasons is because it is vertically migratory, meaning it only comes anywhere near the surface at night. In the daytime, it dives down to 500 feet or deeper.
If the Megamouth Shark remained hidden for so long simply because it dove to 500 feet for most of the day, what chances do we have of finding a Megalodon that may live at 3,000 feet?
Do any sharks live that deep? While the largest sharks in the world are well-known due to their near-surface behaviors, there are others who are much more reclusive.
The Portuguese Dogfish is a species of Sleeper Shark known to survive at depths of up to 12,000 feet.
The Pacific Sleeper Shark and Greenland Shark are huge animals reaching over 20 feet in length and can live at depths of up to 9,000 feet.
Even the great white shark has been recorded diving to depths of 4,000 feet.
So, there seems to be nothing preventing a Megalodon from living in the dark of the ocean, should it have reason to do so. However, this also tells us that Megalodon doesn't need the depths of the Mariana Trench to stay hidden.
More to the point, since no sharks exist below 12,000 feet, and no large prey items, it seems highly unlikely that Megalodon would have evolved to live at such depth.
While that may be disheartening to Megalodon believers, in a way it's also encouraging. Since the average depth of the ocean is around 14,000 feet, that means the Megalodon Shark, even if it has evolved to live in very deep water, could, in theory, exist in numerous places around the world.
But that brings us back to our original problem: If a 60-foot predatory shark is still out there, and still lives around the world, we should see the evidence.
Is Megalodon in the Mariana Trench?
Is it really possible that small populations of Megalodon Sharks evolved to feed on prey in very deep water, and because of this managed to avoid extinction? Could this remnant population of Megalodon Shark still thrive today, far out of sight of humans?
Probably not. There's no food for it down there, and no other shark species are known to thrive that deep. It is an interesting idea, but unfortunately not one with any scientific merit, as of yet anyway.
This is all food for thought. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what you think is possible.
Does the Megalodon Shark still live, deep in the Mariana Trench?
Your opinion: Does Megalodon Live in the Mariana Trench?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Is Megalodon bigger than a blue whale?
Answer: Megalodon was the largest shark that ever lived, but it probably wasn’t bigger than a blue whale. We can only say <i>probably</i> because so little is known about the appearance of megalodon.
Researchers compare the sparse fossil remains, which consist only of teeth and vertebrae, with living animals such as the great white shark to estimate the length of megalodon. Best guesses put the largest specimens at about 60 feet, with the typical individual at around 40 feet, or about the size of a whale shark.
This made megalodon around the same size as the biggest whales of its day, but much smaller than a modern blue whale, which can reach 100 feet. In fact, blue whales are the largest animals ever to have lived on planet Earth.
However, researchers in the past once thought megalodon could reach a similar length as a blue whale. So, it is possible science may once again reverse its position on maximum megalodon size, if or when more information becomes available.
Still, a blue whale can weigh close to 200 tons, where megalodon estimates land between 50 and 100 tons. That means even a 100-foot meg may not have weighed as much as a blue whale.
ghoast on June 10, 2020:
hi megalodon are the best animal in the world
Phantom on March 14, 2020:
Yes. It is possible that megalodon is still alive, looking at it from a biblical point of view, because of the flood any prehistoric sea creatures to still be alive. As for why we can not find them the ocean is a big place, plus we have not found all the animals on earth. In fact at one time giant squads we're myth and orangutans were the same as Bigfoot or the yeti. So we are finding new animals all the time. From single celled organisms to sea creatures and more. Besides there has been sighting of ol' Meg, yeah you can't trust everything, bbbbbuuuuutttttttt you have to count your losses.
As for where ol' Meg lives perhaps he just roams the seas like a great white. But I don't think it lives in the marina trench the pressure is too much!!!
As for what it eats probably squid, tunia, and maybe whales.
So that's my point of view. No hard feeling.
MasterShell36 on February 07, 2020:
i think the meg lives in the ocens but maby not the mirina trench
Jo jhonson memeber on January 20, 2020:
It could have reproduced and they all stayed down there and ate the squids
aubrey on November 16, 2019:
but even if the mariana trench isn’t its true habitat couldn’t it have adapted to fight extinction ?
Poopypoop on November 05, 2019:
I think the megaladon is still alive but we are very unsafe if it is
mattt on September 16, 2019:
it is still alive till this very day
Kenzie Parker on September 03, 2019:
I believe the Megalodon is still out there but I don’t know for sure because after that meteor hit earth the dinosaurs Went extinct and the Megalodon live in the Marian trench that’s super deep But I don’t know if it Lived or not
bandon cookie on September 03, 2019:
they are still alive
Jake on April 02, 2019:
I hope they still live because it would be extraordinary to see or find one.
Devynn Sullivan on March 03, 2019:
Anything is possible. The coelecanth was supposed to have gone extinct millions of years ago, but they live still.
Victor on February 21, 2019:
You have to take size into consideration. Look at fish. When baby fish are little and young they feed off of the shallows while the larger fish are in the deepest parts of the river way down. Same goes for the Ocean. Why do you think whales and giant squid dive so deep and they aren't even the size of the megalodon. Take even the big mouth shark that wasn't even discovered until 1976 because they normally swim from 400-500 feet under water durring the day and only come up to about 100-200 ft during the night. IF this same behavior is followed by the megalodon when you factor the size it would explain why we haven't discovered them yet if they still exist. 99% of the ocean floor has yet to be discovered so if you want to get cocky and be scientific by saying they are extinct then you have to leave room for the possibility that its possible they may still exist. At one time many parts of the world thought the world was flat so you can see that now we look back and laugh.
MrT on January 01, 2019:
Why not.they said the coelacanth was extinct but they found that they still exist Then there's the photo of the german u boats in south africa in the 1940's that big dorsal fin sticking up near one of the boats while the boats capitan looking on Then there's the google maps picture of a big shark fisherman have seen it so i think it's very possible .the ocean is vast just because we don't see it doesn't mean it's not there
Gabby on November 14, 2018:
Why. A lack of prey
Student on November 06, 2018:
I think that the Megalodon would have evolved to avoid life. I believe that it had innate intelligence to avoid man. After all, could the Megalodons have been the dolphins/apes of ancient times? I believe that it is folly to follow the belief that humans are the only intelligent life on this planet and in this universe.
Graeme on September 04, 2018:
Nothing is impossible. We constantly are discovering species that were declared extinct. Just because we have encountered alien life, does not mean it's not out there. The odds of Earth being the only planet in the whole universe are abysmal. With that logic, doesn't it merit the possibility that something that "did" exist previously still can? Saying it's gone forever is just as ignorant as saying, "I can't see you, therefore you can't see me." Just because our naked eye perceives the Earth flat, does not mean it is.
In conclusion, until you can map the entirety of the ocean simultaneously and with detail, we cannot KNOW anything. Things move and what may be there one day could be somewhere else another.
Jonny Garcia on August 30, 2018:
The Megalodon is alive
Thomas Schoen on August 10, 2018:
I think that would be a wonderful site from land to see a Megalodon shark. So cool. Take a self-e.
Nathan on August 10, 2018:
I don't think this shark is still out there because there is no real evidence that this big shark is still out there. I really want real evidence that this shark is still in the oceans somewhere so I could learn.
Saundra J Schoen on August 01, 2018:
Anything is possible. I still think that it's maybe be true. It would be cool.
Doha (Beta) on June 21, 2018:
There is lots of pollution discoverved in the trench
Stever on May 12, 2018:
It is possible for the Megalodon to live because the Sperm Whale dives into deep waters and could be prey to the Megalodon
I BELIEVE on May 03, 2018:
i believe the megalodon still lives today
IHeartSharks on May 02, 2018:
I think that the megalodon has been right under are noses all these years
isaiah on April 18, 2018:
the megalodon shark can still live in the depths. When a species dives really deep into the ocean there is small amounts of oxygen now this might sound a little strange but the closer to the surface they are the more they will eat because oxygen levels are higher than that of deeper depths. if they needed at least one whale a day to survive without starving then if they went into the trench then there oxygen levels drop causing them to have to eat a lot less allowing them to eat small amounts of food and surviving. the only way we know is by searching the Mariana trench.
IHeartSharks on April 12, 2018:
if the megalodon is out there its gotta be in the Mariana trench, just because it was a live 200000 years ago doesn't mean its still extinct who knows it could none has had PROOF that its EXTINCT.
IHeartSharks on April 11, 2018:
I think it s possible that this creature is still a live at least 99% in the bottom of the Mariana trench with all stuff i have read that is where the last Megalodon shark really is.
Mega shark on April 08, 2018:
I think it might be in the Pacific Ocean
Skinny Thicc Boi on January 30, 2018:
Before 2000, a probe was dropped of a research ship to take water samples at lower depths in the Mariana trench. When lifting the probe back up from the depths, it caught on an invisible object even though there was nothing between the ship and the sea floor. After 3 hours, the probe finally came free and rose to the surface. When the probe surfaced and was inspected on the deck, enormous gorge marks were found in the metalwork and multiple cables were torn. When later disassembled, 2 enormous teeth were found embedded in the bodywork and were later identified as the belonging to the enormous, dangerous and questionable extinct MEGALODON.
idiot on January 25, 2018:
I don't know how people think the megalodon lives in the trench why would an gigantic shark wanna live in the trench away from all the whales and large food sources and I don't even think it could have adapted to the conditions there as well and sadly it probably died out
hailey on November 25, 2017:
I think this is real I belive in this
Megalodonreseacher on November 21, 2017:
i think the Megalodon is alive and if it did live in the trench the metabolism from the lack of oxygen. it has the possibility to have eat'n small fish and survived and if so it would be smaller compared to its normal size because of pressure and it would be very sensitive to light. it would also be able to have its normal body temperature sense of heat vents in the Mariana. this is my favorite prehistoric creature and i will keep doing research.
AceGamer36 on November 08, 2017:
it is living in mariana trench cause they explored the mariana trench with a water craft and have left a big megalodon teeth at the water craft
thicc boi on October 12, 2017:
i think its real and am going to fine one
twilight on September 23, 2017:
i think it's real
Person on September 16, 2017:
People have found a tooth the size of a palm in the mariana trench area.
Alinah on July 29, 2017:
I think that the Megalodon shark still exists but not necessarily in the Mariana Trench.
What about you?
MAUSIZU on June 09, 2017:
If Megalodon lived in the mariana trench it had to adapt. Creatures down there are almost in sleep all year so they dont have to eat so much. Theyre metabolism are slow. Megalodon would probably be a slow and not very dangerous predator down there. It would make much more sense if it lived closer to the surface.
Yolo on June 07, 2017:
Who knows it could be out there!
hi person on February 23, 2017:
ive wanted to be a marine biologist for many years. i have studied the oceans. there is a 49% chance of a megalodon still living in the depths. the most common sightings are in the Mariana Treach. the only way to know is to go down there and live. a camera cant see in that kind of darkness
Mr A Jones on October 06, 2016:
I don't rule out the possibility that Megalodon is still with us, but if the sightings of huge sharks are to be believed it's not beyond the realm of possibility that it is a species of shark thus far undescribed by science. And a large size does not necesarily mean a large prey item to sustain it. It just means a large amount of prey, or a very slow and long life at low temperatures.
Megalodon? Unlikely. A large, undescribed shark waiting to be documented? Very likely in my opinion, given how little of the oceans we have explored thus far. It really is the final frontier (on Earth).
cryptid (author) from USA on November 12, 2015:
Good points Levius. For Megalodon to have made the adjustment from a surface, coastal hunter to a deep-ocean predator it would have required some serious evolutionary adaptations.
Levius on November 11, 2015:
I think it is possible but highly unlikely that they are out there somewhere in the deep. But we must not shrug off the fact that we still do not know a majority of our deep sea including the trench.
The deeps holds many secrets of our planet. What if there is an unknown massive superpredator that evolved to live in deep waters that can support the population of Megalodons?
If it is true, then the megalodons must evolve a set of tools to deal with the depth.
1. Supersized themselves into a massive proportion.
2. Extra gills to cope with the lack of oxygen.
3. Enhanced super sensitive sensory organs.
4. Layers of blubber and a heating system similar to that of a great white.
Those are the tools needed to exist at the Mariana Trench. So it is a possibility but highly unlikely.
kibble11223 on September 24, 2015:
i really think that the megladon is real i am doing a presentation
cryptid (author) from USA on May 14, 2015:
Interesting thought, John. I guess its possible, but I'd think there would need to be a fairly large number of Megalodon for that to happen. Plus, why wouldn't they just migrate to where whales and large food items live?
john s on May 13, 2015:
It's somewhat rare but not unheard for species to eat their own kind given the proper circumstances. If megalodon was running the risk of extinction and only a select population of them took to some location stable enough to survive it, is it not reasonable to assume that they simply eat their own dead and dying as a viable, sustainable food source?
As you say cryptid, food for thought.
cryptid (author) from USA on February 03, 2015:
I don't think anyone should readily assume anything ever, especially about political candidates.
rn einhorn on February 01, 2015:
People who readily assume megalodon exists today probably also believe in extraterrestrials and biblical miracles. Please keep these people away from the voting booths!
err on November 28, 2014:
i guess it lives in the place and if it's a small population it might be just more than 1 and the population could later thrive in other places like south africa since global warming forces humback whales to go there
Ana Koulouris on November 04, 2014:
Very intelligently written and well organized. I'm looking forward to reading more of your articles. Kudos!
cryptid (author) from USA on September 14, 2014:
Thanks for the kind words, Natalie. I appreciate your thoughtful comments!
Natalie on September 13, 2014:
I love reading on Megalodon, your pages are very well written and raise some very interesting questions. Like you have said in another article , only 5% of our oceans have been explored, so what about the other 95% that is left untouched? Scientists have not captured concrete evidence of Mega, yet. I cannot wait for the day when there is scientific proof there is a HUGE shark out there! I believe the stories of these fishermen are not fabricated and they are seeing a very, very large shark of some sort! The ocean is a very big place and these sharks are good at hiding, we just have yet to seek them! Keep up the pages, they are awesome and very well written!
tabitha on July 23, 2014:
I think the Megalodon The shark is in the marian trench.
cryptid (author) from USA on May 20, 2014:
I agree that is true. Even a tooth lodged in a whale or something would prove Megalodon is still around, but until we see such a thing the alleged sightings are nothing but compelling stories.
CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on May 20, 2014:
Interesting hub cryptid. I would like to think that Megalodon is still out there somewhere in the depths of the ocean. I suppose it will take a dead Megalodon being found somewhere to prove it or, unfortunately, someone not just sighting the huge shark but also managing to catch and kill it
sheilamyers on May 16, 2014:
cryptid: Good point. Reliable witnesses have reporting seeing other cryptids and it has later been proven to be a mistaken identity or wishful thinking. That said, I think a lot of the reports of Megalodon are really just that - the people saw them.
cryptid (author) from USA on May 16, 2014:
Sure could be another large shark. Eyewitness accounts are, unfortunately, biased by the knowledge and experience of the witness. I like to think fishermen know the difference between a whale shark and something else, but you never know what they really saw.
sheilamyers on May 15, 2014:
You put out some pretty convincing arguments about it being possible Megalodon still exists. I won't say I think it lives in the Trench (although that's possible), but I'm convinced there are things in our oceans we know nothing about and Megalodon may be one of them. What people report seeing could be just a very large shark of another species. On the other hand, scientists shouldn't brush off reported sightings of Megalodon, especially when some of those come from experienced fishermen and seamen who know what all of those things look like.